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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jenny3704's picture
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WOW This recipe is absolutely delicious!! I made a few tweeks to make it a little more healthier, I took away 25g of the butter and replaced it with 25g apple sauce, I replaced the muscovado sugar with 125g of Agave Nectar and I left out the nuts, but kept the ground almonds in. I also used Disaronno instead of brandy, simply because I love almond liquors. This is absolutely gorgeous! So moist and tasty. Infact it is so nice, we are making another this weekend, because this one has nearly all gone and its only the 2nd Dec, ooops!

ajwright2110's picture
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Have just made this cake again and it is so easy yet works every time I make it. Even used it to make my wedding cake.

burtona's picture
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Very easy and just as good as any other, if not better than most, fruit cake receipes. I split my mixture between two smaller cake tins (one round and one loaf) and still worked perfectly well. Stays moist and soft, but unlikely to last long!

colandol's picture
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The best and easiest christmas cake ever, so moist and delicious I make it every year

vickersmargaret's picture
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Have made this cake every year since the recipe was first published and is guaranteed to work every time. I now make 8 cakes for family and friends at Xmas as well as at least 4 during the year for birthdays and anniversaries. I use chopped almonds instead of macadamia nuts, and regularly vary the dried fruits adding chopped apricots, dates and prunes etc. A great recipe.

christamillar's picture
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As a follow-on from yesterday - husband (a non-cook!) is making this cake today as I refused to let him taste a bit yesterday :-) He has managed it easily (apart from buying whole almonds which we had to skin and grind!!) If he can make this cake, anyone can!

christamillar's picture
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Easy to make, I added some plain chocolate to the pan with the fruit etc. I doubled the quantities and put it in a square tin (the kind with loose sides and middle partitions) and made 3 square cakes - they look fantastic, smell fantastic and from the little nibble I had, taste fantastic! This will be my favoured Christmas Cake from now on ...

tdkuk100's picture
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I made this cake for Christmas gone already.
any one know how to increase the recipe to 10 inch round tin thanks

icecreamdogpark's picture
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First time i made a christmas cake it was so easy that i made 2 and one mixture was made into mini muffin case cakes for children to decorate nearer christmas,Tastes fabulous and good tip about the hot spoon !

lisa16's picture
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This was my first time making a Christmas cake - it was so easy why haven't I made one before? It looked great and smelt great! I added a touch more brandy than stated...well it is for Christmas isn't it!!

korenforbes's picture

I don't want to add the ground almonds so should I add 85g of extra flour?

patthomas's picture
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I've made this for several years now & is always good & moist. I up the ingredients a little to make 4 small square ones in my multicake tin, to ice & give away & they're always a hit. I gave one for a raffle prize & was asked if I'd make another one for her this year - must have been good! I make a big one for my parents every year. My sister uses the recipe regularly when she makes celebration cakes for friends & family.

chocalotl's picture

Can someone please take pity and advise me here?!
I've made this cake before using brandy and loved it -it's rich and moist, and best of all takes well to generous feeding -we could smell the brandy upon cutting into it! This year I want to ring the changes a little with the alcohol, but can I use kirsch rather than cherry brandy then feed with brandy? I know kirsch is more potent and unsweetened, but will it be ok? Or is cherry brandy the only "nice" version? I may seem to be worrying too much here, but I don't know and the uncertainty grows when its a xmas cake on the line!
I need to bake it in the next few days -please can anyone help
?

keavyot's picture
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Amazing cake - absoloutley gorgeous and very easy to double and make two.

I made my own marzipan, iced and decorated.

karenl's picture
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I have made this for the last 3 years and is always a hit! This year i am adding dried pineapple and dates - and instead of icing the top I use cherries and nuts glazed with warm apricot jam - mmmmm

krw1511's picture
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Made this cake again this year, infact I've made 2. Added some stem ginger in one of them, smelt wonderful. Looking forward to 'feeding' them and thenthe icing...yum

mariandavey's picture

Made this cake last year for the first time. I agree with everyone's comments. It is a beautiful moist cake. I gave the recipe to a friend and she also loved it. Will be making it again this Christmas. Its the recipe I'm going to use from now on. Keep up the good work. Brillliant recipe. Thanks BBC and Mary for another super recipe

Marian

comfortfood's picture

Never having made a christmas cake in my life before, I decided to try this recipe last year. Oh, the compliments I received!! Thoroughly enjoyed making it - it was lovely and simple to do, so much so that I've just logged on to seek out the recipe again for this year. I'd certainly recommend it for any novice cooks like myself - it is guaranteed to impress friends and family alike!!!!

yashraf's picture
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This cake is so easy to make and so delicious. I used extra orange juice instead of the brandy and decorated it with marzipan and icing. I have made quite a few cakes for work colleagues but they rated this one the best yet!

chapmanc's picture
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Really easy cake to make, not tasted it yet so fingers crossed!! Does anybody know whether i can ice this cake without using marzipan first? Will it seal ok if i just used warmed apricot jam?

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