Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(160 ratings)

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

More effort

Makes a 20cm round cake
An easy-to-make alternative to traditional Christmas cakes which requires no beating

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition:

  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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Ingredients

  • 175g butter, chopped
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 750g luxury mixed dried fruit (one that includes mixed peel and glacé cherries)
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
    Orange

    Orange

    or-ange

    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 100ml/3½ fl oz cherry brandy or brandy plus 4tbsp more
    Brandy

    Brandy

    bran-dee

    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

  • 85g macadamia nut
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 85g ground almond
    Almond

    Almond

    arr-mund or al-mund

    Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    Cinnamon

    Cinnamon

    sin-ah-mun

    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • ¼ tsp ground allspice

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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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GreenendofSURREY
1st Dec, 2013
This has just come out of the oven and appears to be rather splendid. However, to my mind they should tell you to prep the tin first, I did because I have done so before but if I was a beginner and I got to the end of the recipe to discover that a) I hadn't done my tin, and b) I didn't know how to, I would be panicking,.
livingstone21
28th Nov, 2013
I made this last year as I posted at the time. With just a few variations of my own and iam going to make this years tomorrow. I have never tasted a lovelier cake. Absolutely fabulous for christmas.
ticket
25th Nov, 2013
Ok...so this is the first time I have made a Christmas Cake. Having looked at all the positive and helpful comments I decided to give this one a go. I used brandy soaked mixed fruit rather than add the brandy separately. I hope this approach works. I don't intend to 'feed' the cake so fingers crossed it remains moist. I have just taken the cake out of the oven and it smells amazing! I'm rating it on smell alone at this time!
Bentleybird
25th Nov, 2013
Has anyone baked this in a square tin? If so what size and for how long. Thanks
GreenendofSURREY
1st Dec, 2013
We did it, in an 8" square today. December 1st, and we uplifted every thing by one third.
lizleicester
24th Nov, 2013
Can't rate this just yet (it's in the oven) but trust the fact that fellow bakers have rated it so highly on this site. I've used Brazil nuts instead of Macadamias and a weird Spanish brandy imitation instead of brandy but will feed it with the genuine article because I know the flavour will be detectable. It feels right to be doing this on Stir Up Sunday despite it being later than my usual Christmas cake production!
turkishjelly
2nd Nov, 2013
Excellent recipe. So simple to follow, and makes a delicious moist fruitcake. I made this cake for my family last Christmas and have just baked another one for this year at their request. I feed with a tbsp of brandy once a week, alternating the feeding between the top of the cake and the bottom. This ensures the cake stays moist for months.
bigbirdgrub
1st Nov, 2013
I am going to give this recipe a try this year rather than the Delia one I have baked for the last 6+ years. Just one question - does anyone have any tips re icing etc? I usually make my cake in October/November and feed every couple of weeks. I then marzipan it, leave it again and then ice it. Should I do the same with this one? I get the impression that this cake doesn't need to be made quite as far in advance as a traditional one. All help gratefully received.
sarahliane
12th Nov, 2013
I didn't make it too far in advance. I made it this time last year, fed it twice over a couple of weeks and marzipan'ed' it at the beginning of December then iced it the week before Christmas. It really is worth all the good reviews, not as heavy as the usual Christmas cakes you get. Highly recommended.
philclarke9
4th Nov, 2013
I also used to do the Delia one but changed to this a few years ago. This cake is so much nicer. I feed it every week, and marzipan and ice it just in the same way as before.

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