Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(146 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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londongirl11's picture

Hi have just seen this recipe as I am about to make Delias cake!
Has anyone reduced the sugar successfully please? Thanks

londongirl11's picture

Hi have just seen this recipe as I am about to make Delias cake!
Has anyone reduced the sugar successfully please? Thanks

denisel03's picture

so i have just made this cake and house smells fab , just put it in the oven - wish me luck

kazza111181's picture
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Made this at the wekend. It's the first chritmas cake i've ever made and it was sooooo easy. Tastes great. As I was worried about maybe it tasting too rich, i didn't feed the cake with the extra brandy after baking, but it wasn't, although you could still get away with serving it that way. But next time I make it I will give it the extra glug!!

cakequeen75's picture

All week I've been busy getting the kitchen in order, sorting my baking tins and buying ingredients for the start of my festive cooking/preparation which begins tomorrow on Stir Up Sunday and Im going to make two of these after reading all the comments, one to keep for christmas and one to devour as soon as its ready!

bikerbell's picture
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I've made this cake for the last couple of years for Christmas and it has never failed. I do vary the alcohol a bit and use whatever is in the cupboard. I also leave out the mixed peel and use extra cherries instead.
Going to nip down to the shops now to get the ingredients so that I can soak the fruit overnight in the brandy ! and make it tomorrow.

shimmers's picture
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So easy to make. Even a baking idiot like myself can manage it. Tastes delicious. This is my third year of making it for Crimble. Kids love it too which is good. I usually put marizpan and then royal icing on top. First year I put sprigs of holly on top. Second year I put my Christmas cake decorations on e.g. santa, kids icing skating etcc etc. Not sure what I will do this year. To the person above who had trouble with it being stodgy, I was worried this might happen to me as was in a rush and didn't let fruit cool but it still worked out fine so not sure what went wrong?

jitkad's picture
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Soooo delicious,I used spicy rum as I didn't have brandy, and kesu instead macadamia nuts.....thumbs up

sallygee's picture
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Just made this cake today as have new cooker so wanted to try out before I make one for christmas absolutely delicious again good excuse yea so easy to make.

bacon-n-egg's picture
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I cant understand what went wrong - twice!!!! The cake just came out stoggy and heavy. I think the moistness of the fruit has to have an effect as I dont usually have a problem with baking. I'm also wondering if the fruit should be well cool to actually setting as after half an hour my fruit mix was still very warm.

judiecaravan's picture
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Still the best chistmas cake recipe i have ever used! i also add walnuts.

makemeacook's picture
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Found this very easy to make took a little longer to cook to ensure nothing sticking to skewer, tasting will have to wait till Christmas, I'm going to ice with marzipan and royal icing but it looks just like the picture. So 5 stars for the method. :-)

loftylozzy's picture
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Gorgeous cake, I am having to make another one for Christmas as the one I made the other day has almost gone already. So tasty the day after baking, I can't wait to try it after it has rested for the month or so leading to Christmas.

halifaxlady's picture
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Superb recipe, best christmas cake I have ever made. Will certainly be using this recipe all the time.

jamoco's picture

Just got the cake out of the oven and it looks lovely!!
I am wheat intolerant so I have made it with wheat free flour. I soaked the fruit overnight with double the amount of alcohol (I like to use Peach snapps in fruit cake) as wheat free flour cooking tends to be a little dry. Seems nice and springy and is a beautiful colour.
Very straight foreward to make, if it tastes as good as it looks and smells I will definately keep using it :)

skybun's picture

made this cake 3 times now and always turns out nice, it is my kids favourite cake covered with marsipan and icing.
i made my last one with orange juice instead of alcohol and was worried it would go stale, but when we cut into it two months later it was fine(i did feed it with brandy a couple of times so maybe this preserved it?)

corinna31's picture

Hi,

I haven't made this cake but reading everyone's reviews I think I will give it try. This is my first attempt at a Christmas cake, so fingers crossed!

Can I easily cov this cake with icing or marzipan like a traditional Christmas cake?

Thanks
Corinna

lau_pau's picture
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I made this last night, really easy to make- particularly as I am a cooker, not a baker! Enjoyed making it, so much so that I am making another for family this evening! Obviously haven't tasted it yet but looks good and just like the picture!

sunwin's picture
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As everyone else has said - this recipe is perfect! I made 3 last Christmas and put one away for later which I then forgot about! I found it in May and then used it in June for my parents Ruby anniversary - it went down a treat and everyone asked for the recipe - so it definitely stores well!!
This year's cake is in the oven - I've used a cocktail of various drinks which were in the cupboard - don't be afraid to chop and change to take into account what you already have - this recipe is very versatile!

frankie84's picture

This was the first Christmas cake I made and it was a total success. So easy to make and was still moist when we finished eating it at the start of February! The macadamia nuts were lovely and although they can be a bit expensive they are worth it as they add another layer of texture to the cake. Looking forward to making it again this weekend in readiness for this years festivities. Just need to decide how to decorate it!

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