- 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
- zest and juice 1 orange
One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…
- zest and juice 1 lemon
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- 150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
- 250g pack butter, softened
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 200g light soft brown sugar
- 175g plain flour
- 100g ground almond
- ½ tsp baking powder
Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 100g flaked almond
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, alcohol, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
Stir-up SundayGet ahead for Christmas by baking this cake on Stir-up Sunday. It's the last Sunday before Advent, the traditional start of the Christmas season.
Feeding your cakeIf you notice your cake is going dark in the oven too early on and you’re worried about it burning on the top, cover it with some foil or baking parchment. Feed your cake every fortnight for up to 2 months. If you prefer not to use alcohol, try tea instead.
Can you soak the cake without alcohol?Yes, you can use tea, fruit juice or a flavoured syrup, but it won’t have the same effect as alcohol so don’t overdo it or your cake will be soggy.
What spices do you put in a Christmas cake?Christmas cakes generally include mixed spice and a blend of allspice, cinnamon and cloves. These are warming, aromatic spices that go well with the fruit but shouldn’t have a big impact on the flavour.
How long does a Christmas cake last?Christmas cakes to be kept in a tin can be made up to 3 months in advance depending on the recipe you use, OR you can make it many more months ahead, freeze it and defrost it when you are ready to ‘feed’ it or ice it. You can make your cake on Stir-up Sunday on the last weekend in November, but some people consider this too late.