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The Perfect Christmas cake

Did you know that the last Sunday of November or “Stir-up Sunday" is the traditional start to Advent?  And what better way to kick off Christmas than to make your own Christmas cake?

 Whether it’s baking for a gift, or for your own family and friends to enjoy, nothing smells as good as a freshly baked cake.  Our recipe allows you to make a boozy or non-boozy cake, moist and delicious, ready for the Christmas celebrations!

Remember to feed your cake every two weeks to keep it moist!  If you want to keep it alcohol free, tea or fruit juice make great substitutes. Just don’t use too much as it will give you a soggy cake by Christmas!

 Ingredients:

1kg of mixed dried fruit (use a combo of raisins, sultana’s, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)

zest and juice 1 orange 

zest and juice 1 lemon 

150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding

250g butter softened

200g light soft brown sugar

175g plain flour

100g ground almond

½ tsp baking powder

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

100g flaked almonds

4 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method:

  1. Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat
  1. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
  1. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
  1. Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
  1. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
  1. Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol or juice. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

Top tips:

To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol or juice every fortnight, until you ice it.

Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing and then ice any way you like.  From traditional to fun designs, it really can be the icing on the cake.

Sounds too much like hard work?  Then kick back, relax and try one of our delicious Christmas traybakes instead!

 

 

(Thanks to BBC good food for the fantastic recipe)