I absolutley love Christmas, with so many opportunities to make - decorations, gifts, card and most importantly, baking!
It is traditional to make your Christmas cake early, and feed it with rich brandy or whisky right up until the big day. With this in mind and having just baked mine at the weekend, I thought I'd share my family recipe for a rich fruit cake - it's also perfect for a traditional wedding cake.
You will need a 9” Cake Tin, greased and lined with a double layer of grease-proof paper. It also needs to be wrapped with a double layer of grease proof paper on the outside and tied with string, and then placed on a baking sheet with a double layer of brown paper. This prevents the outside edges of the cake from burning. This recipe is best made 6 to 10 weeks ahead, to allow it to mature. That being said, I have memories of my Mum baking hers in the high of summer....
- 450g Currants
- 350g Sultanas
- 200g Raisins
- 125g Morello Cherries, Chopped
- Grated Rind 2 Lemons
- 45ml Brandy (You can substitute this for another spirit of your choice, or you can even use apple juice)
- 350g Plain Flour
- 1 ½ tsp. Mixed Spice
- 1 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- 250g Butter, Softened
- 275g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. Treacle
- 6 Eggs
- Preheat oven to 120c Fan or 140c conventional.
- Pop all of the fruit and rind into a bowl and cover in the brandy, mix through and leave to stand.
- Sieve the flour and spices together into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the treacle and mix thoroughly.
- Add an egg at a time to the sugar, butter and treacle mix, alternating with a tablespoon of the flour mix.
- Fold in the remaining flour a spoonful at a time, alternating with the mixed fruit.
- Once everything is mixed, pour into the lined cake tin and bake for around 2hrs 30min to 3 hrs.
- The cake is baked when the surface is springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean. If it's not quite ready, pop it back in for another 10 minutes and test again.
- Remove from the oven and leave for 15 mins in the tin – Turn out and leave to cool completely.
- Rewrap in clean grease-proof paper or foil and store in an airtight tin or container.
- Brush the bottom of the cake with around 10 ml brandy every two weeks.
- Decorate 2 days before serving - I cover with a layer of marzipan and then use plain royal icing to create a retro snow scene.