When I was younger – and by that I mean just a few years younger – I didn’t like Christmas Cake, or so I thought. What really put me off was the icing; thick, chewy and almost inedible, I still hate it now. Luckily the dense fruity cake underneath is delicious and nowhere near as difficult as you might think to make.
I realise it’s only October and Christmas is probably the last thing on your mind, but now is the perfect time to make a start on your Christmas Cake. This allows you to top it up with brandy each week between now and the big day, increasing the boozy festive flavour.
I’ve used brandy in this recipe and a fairly cheap bottle at that, but you could substitute that with another spirit of your choice such as sherry or rum as the mood takes you. Also feel free to mess with the quantities of individual dried fruits to make this cake your own.
And if you’re wondering why the cake in the picture is undecorated, that’s because we’ll be doing that in December (you can subscribe to this site by email so as not to miss it), after we’ve topped up the cake with more alcohol each week…
Easy Christmas Cake Recipe – Ingredients & Method
Step 1 – The Fruit
- 450g (2 cups) Currants
- 250g (1 cup) Sultanas
- 250g (1 cup) Raisins
- 100g (1 cup) Glace Cherries
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 500ml (2 cups) Brandy
Simply stir the fruit into the brandy in a large bowl, cover, and leave overnight. Step 1, done!
Step 2 – The Cake Mixture
- 300g (2 cups) Plain Flour
- 250g (9 oz) Unsalted Butter
- 250g (1 cup) Soft Brown Sugar
- 100g (1 cup) Ground Almonds
- 1 tbsp Treacle
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 4 Eggs
- 100g (1/2 cup) Chopped Almonds
- 100g (1/2 cup) Chopped Walnuts
Pre-heat your oven to 150 c / 300 f.
- Line a 23cm / 9 inch cake tine with double thickness parchment paper; cut a circle for the bottom then line the sides, going about 1.5 times as high as the tin itself. I used a dab of butter here and there to help the paper stick.
- Put the butter, treacle and sugar into a bowl / into your stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, then on slow speed beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Off the mixer, in a separate bowl, mix the ground almonds with the spices and sift (i.e. sieve) in the flour.
- One spoon at a time, fold the dry mix into the butter mix. Be careful to fold gently to keep the air inside.
- Next, add the nuts, and again fold gently.
- Finally, fold the fruit mix in to the cake mix, again being gentle to retain the air.
That was 6 steps; how easy was that? And you thought this was going to be difficult…
Empty your finished cake mixture into your tin and put this into the oven for 2.5 hours, then check with a cake tester / cocktail stick – it’s ready when the stick comes out dry.
Step 3 – Finishing Touches
When out of the oven allow to cool in the tin until you are able to handle it (half an hour or so), then remove. Prick the surface several times with a cocktail stick and drizzle over just a little more brandy, then wrap in foil and place inside a cake tin.
Each week until Christmas open the tin, drizzle a little more brandy over the surface and close again. Try to resist nibbling!
For now, you’re done. Make sure to check back in December for your guide on icing the cake – or leave it how it is and enjoy it unadulterated; you’ll love it, either way!