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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tilly44's picture

This recipe whizzed round the expat Brits in Brittany last Christmas and deservedly so. After nearly 50 years of trying many different recipes this is the one I am sticking with. Easy, fail safe and impossible to tell it has not been made in the traditional way.

michyd29's picture
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This cake looks really moist and nice. Will give it a go for Christmas...

FlourCoveredGirl's picture
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Fabulous cake. Incredibly easy to make, and tastes superb.

A bit more detail:
I tripled the quantity to fill a 30cm square tin (the type that divides in to 9).
As I don't have a saucepan big enough to cook all the ingredients in one go I pre-soaked the fruit, and then added the cooled butter and sugar mix, and then followed the rest of the instructions. I wrapped the tin with a triple layer of brown paper, and half-way through cooking I also loosely covered it with greaseproof paper.
I swapped the macadamias for almonds, and added some ginger too.

The result is an excellent, very moist and (slightly Christmas-pudding-y) cake, that was a breeze to make.

lemaid's picture
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Everyone loved this cake when I made it last year, so just looking up the recipe to make another this year. I leave out the nuts because I don't like them but everything else is per recipe. Great simple recipe.

rose-marie's picture
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Made this cake on the 13th October, just had a peek at it, smells and looks delicious. Made this cake last year, so much easier with the simmer method. It was well approved by everybody and I cannot see how anybody cannot succeed making this perfect cake. We love it, all I have to do now is give it a little more brandy before Christmas.

sophie_cook's picture

I baked this cake last week for my husband, and he loved it. He said it was the best fruit cake I've ever made.
I will be making a couple more in the coming weeks to decorate as Christmas gifts!

rvreeds's picture

I have made this cake as our family christmas cake for the last 3 years and it is always popular. This year there will be fewer of us around to eat it so am thinking of splitting the recipe and making 2 smaller cakes - any tips/advice on baking times for 2 x 18 or 20cm cakes each using half the cake mix?
Thanks

chompfest's picture

hi abby1991 - how long did you feed/store it? I think the longer it keeps the less likely it is to crumble - that said I made mine in early October last year ad cut it at Christmas having fed it every week with cherry brandy and that still crumbled - no one cared!

abby1991's picture
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Great cake, and tasted lovely too, everyone loved it! but can anyone give me tips on how to stop it crumbling?

jmc123's picture
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Lovely moist cake, nice balance of fruit and spices, not as bitter or dense as a traditional Christmas cake, this one is a keeper for all year round.

rf2690's picture

never made a xmas cake before,this was so simple to do.passed the recipe on to friend's and they all loved it.didn't change anything with it being my first time don't think i will either.

standupjuno's picture
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I'm a complete novice when it comes to baking so spotted this just before Christmas and decided to give it a go. The cake was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. My family loved it, and were pleasantly surprised that I had made it, knowing how nervous I am about baking!

mrsted's picture
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Gorgeous cake, first time I have ever made a christmas cake and this was so eay to make, lovely and moist.
Did not add the nuts and made 5 small cakes with the first attempt which I iced and gave away as Christmas presents and then one big cake for the day itself which did not last long. I added a bit more brandy before icing but there was not alot of time before making and then icing and then it was Christmas.
I shall be making this again and again and next time I am thinking of using a loaf tin and cutting it into slabs.
Many thanks for another brilliant recipe, I love the praise I get on the results!

krisvenlou's picture
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I've done this cake for about 3 years now and can't find a better and easier cake. Can't go wrong when you do it. Anyone who tastes this cake want the recipe and I'll be happy to hear that they did it also.
Thanks

feesmith's picture
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Fabulous recipe, works perfectly everytime! I used sherry instead of brandy and sometimes add prunes and dates to the fruit mix. Brilliant!

dishymummy's picture
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I was a Christmas cake virgin until last year and so pleased that I chose this recipe! Easy to make and tastes superb. My husband says its the best fruit cake he has ever tasted and my Mother has asked for the recipe, which is a huge compliment coming from her! Will definitely be making this again for Christmas 2012 if not before.

queenfi's picture
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If I could give this recipe 6 + stars I would!
This is simpy the best fruit cake recipe I have ever made and more so tasted, not only me but my very experienced baker Mum too. Coming from an Irish family with old classic Christmas cake recipes and recipe books galore nothing will beat this.
I am very critical of all cakes and couln't fault this one, it is so moist and has a delicious flavour...opted for whiskey this time around but will try brandy next...thank you, thank you, thank you!

a1katcrow's picture
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This was the recipe I chose to make my first christmas cake & I can tell you that it is amazing, everyone loved it. I found it easy to make, you can add more booze if you like & it still tatses great. I will only use this recipe now.

jacquiec's picture
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I made this cake for the fiorst time and it deserves at least five stars. I changed some of the fruits, but stuck to the basic recipe. I usually make the Delia Smith cake, but sometimes it turns out dry so thought I would have a change and I will make this one in future.

alisonpg's picture
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Easy to make and we all enjoyed the results. My husband loves fruit cake and he gave it a big thumbs up, so it must be good! Didn't make any modifications to the recipe, followed it exactly as it said.

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