Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(145 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 1 hr - 1 hr, 15 mins Cook: 1 hr - 2 hrs, 30 mins (cooking time 2 hrs 30 if gas oven)

Skill level

Moderately easy

Servings

Makes a 20cm round cake

An easy-to-make alternative to traditional Christmas cakes which requires no beating

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition

kcalories
-
protein
-
carbs
-
fat
-
saturates
-
fibre
-
sugar
-
salt
-

Ingredients

  • 175g butter, chopped
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 750g luxury mixed dried fruits (one that includes mixed peel and glacé cherries)
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 100ml/3½ fl oz cherry brandy or brandy plus 4tbsp more
  • 85g macadamia nuts
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice

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Method

  1. Put the butter, sugar, fruit, zests, juice and 100ml/3½fl oz brandy in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter has melted. Reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2/ fan 130C and line a 20cm round cake tin. Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them until evenly browned, or in the oven for 8-10 minutes - keep an eye on them as they burn easily. When they are cool, chop roughly. Stir the eggs, nuts and ground almonds into the fruit mixture and mix well. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the pan. Stir in gently, until there are no traces of flour left.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down evenly - you will find this is easiest with the back of a metal spoon which has been dipped into boiling water.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140C/gas 1/ fan120C and cook for a further 1-1¼ hours (about a further 1¾ hours if you have a gas oven) until the cake is dark golden in appearance and firm to the touch. Cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken too much. To check the cake is done, insert a fine skewer into the centre - if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.
  6. Make holes all over the warm cake with a fine skewer and spoon the extra 4tbsp brandy over the holes until it has all soaked in. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. When it's cold, remove it from the tin, peel off the lining paper, then wrap first in baking parchment and then in foil. The cake will keep in a cupboard for up to three months or you can freeze it for six months.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2002

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Comments

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deeley_bop's picture
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A wonderful Christmas cake. it's the first time I have made this cake and friends and family all love it, in fact it is so popular the one I made in November has gone and so I will be baking another for this years Christmas visitors in the next couple of days.

mrsdrjones's picture
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VERY moist cake but my fruit was well soaked.(I only used sultanas,raisins and glace cherries).Needed quite a bit longer baking not sure if this is because it was on the bottom shelf, think I will go for the middle of the oven next time.

raven's picture
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I make this every year. It is moist and delicious and I haven't found a better recipe.

jester362's picture

Used this recipe for 3 yrs now ! It never fails ,will take longer to cook in a smaller deeper tin ! But I always use some brown paper folded several times around the outside of the cake tin and tied with string as this will stop it drying out and burning on the edges and cover the top with some foil after about an hour in the oven as this will stop the top from burning . It's a beautiful cake and you will not be disappointed .eveyone will comment .

dodiani's picture
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Delicious moist and really easy to make. I never bake any other Christmas cake and I even bake it for birthdays and other events. I add more brandy over a period of 7-10 days.

dodiani's picture
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This is a wonderful recipe. Easy to make and very tasty. I add more brandy over a week after I baked the cake. I give this cake 5+ stars!

mercology's picture

I couldn't wait a full two weeks to tell you my progress! Daily feeding a for only 2 days and I have a lovely moist cake. I can cut through my 4inch now (instead of saw). Had a slice for breakfast, it was moist without being crumbly. Yummy too! I will still feed lightly for a few more days and leave a week without feeding before icing.
If you had a dry cake, don't be discouraged! Feed. Feed. Feed. It does work!

mercology's picture

So, I made this cake yesterday for a friend who wanted a fruit cake in 2 weeks time. This sounded like the perfect recipe. Made a deep 6inch and a 4inch to use as a taster. It smelled beautiful and was an easy fuss free recipe. With all the great reviews, i ignored that only one person found the recipe dry. Unfortunately my little taster cake came out so dry I had to almost saw through to cut it. ( yes I should have taken this one out earlier). But my 6 inch doesn't look that promising either as the top is very hard. Also, my two cakes cracked at the top within the first 30 min of cooking. I am now feeding both cakes daily with brandy for a week. Hoping to moisten them this way. I will post results in 2 weeks.

nancy0412's picture

this is my first ever attempt at a Christmas Cake and found this recipe straight forward. Need advice though! I opted for the version with no alcohol having young children so used fresh orange juice. please could you tell me if the cake should still be fed with liquid now that it's out of the oven?

jmcook's picture

lovely reciepe the only thing is can i ice it and decorate like a normal one

nicolien22's picture

Great recipe! I have been making this cake for years now. Made this years yesterday afternoon..I always make 2 at the time, and NEVER have any leftovers! I use blanched almonds and brazil nuts, instead of macadamia's, and extra glace cherries. When the cakes are done I leave them in their tins, wrap them in extra baking parchment and a plastic bag. Then they are stored in the cellar.

nbnicky's picture

Have made three of these cakes each year for the last 4 years. They are delicious, easy to make and fool proof. I doubt I will ever use any other recipe for Christmas cake again.

flosssy's picture
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I love this cake. I actually made 3 of them for my wedding cake in April and then another 2for my two tiered birthday cake in October. I always omit the whole nuts and just replace with more dried fruit and ground almonds. Cooking times and recipe ratios for bigger and smaller versions would be much appreciated as I only just got away with the 10 inch bottom tier...a little puddingy! Tastes divine though. Beautifully moist and popular with everyone. Am gearing up to make 3 next weekend for Christmas cakes!

clarence49's picture

I have used this recipe since it was first published. Living in the USA, fruitcake has a bad reputation. The joke is the same cake is passed around from one person to another each Christmas...as it is so bad.. nobody would dare eat it!
My American husband, adult daughter and son LOVE this cake. I made a double recipe to be one of the cakes at our daughter's wedding in September...and she is a Pastry Chef at a 5-Star hotel. Love the addition of the ground almonds. I am lucky that ground almond flour is readily available here.
I read BBCGoodFood on line each morning and bring back the magazine when ever I go back home to England.

stephenjoanne's picture

Cake took 2 3/4 hours but look great. Did anyone else's take so long ? (Electric oven)

stephenjoanne's picture

Made this cake tonight and its still in the oven. I have put it in a 7inch tin so I'm guessing that's why it's taken longer to cook. Won't be eating until Xmas just a little worried that cake feels a little rubbery like its got a skin on it. Is that due to the baking technique?

nosilac's picture

Cake tin size stated to left of cooking time panel at top of instructions - makes a 20cm round cake.

Sathyai's picture

20cm MrsT!

kt08kel's picture

Hi, Can anyone tell me what size cake tin is needed for this recipe. Thanks

kt08kel's picture

Hi, Can anyone tell me what size cake tini need to use for this recipie? Thanks

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