As-you-like-it Christmas cake

As-you-like-it Christmas cake

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(34 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 2 hrs - 2 hrs, 30 mins Plus overnight soaking

Easy

Cuts into 10-12 slices
Use your choice of dried fruit, nuts, citrus zest and booze (or even tea) and get your cake made up to six months in advance

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal681
  • fat24g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs112g
  • sugars97g
  • fibre3g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.26g
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Ingredients

  • 1kg mixed dried fruit (any blend of raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, dried cranberries, glacé cherries, chopped dried apricots, dates, dried figs or dried pineapple)
  • 150ml sherry, brandy, rum or brewed tea, plus extra for feeding
  • zest and juice 2 oranges, 2 lemons or 4 clementines
    Orange

    Orange

    or-ange

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

  • 250g pack unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 250g light, soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

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

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g whole or flaked almonds, chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or brazil nuts (optional)
    Almond

    Almond

    arr-mund or al-mund

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

Method

  1. Put your chosen dried fruit mixture into a large bowl with your choice of alcohol or tea, citrus zest and juice. Mix well, cover and leave overnight.

  2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and double-line a deep cake tin – 20cm round or 18cm square – with enough baking parchment to come about 2.5cm above the top of the tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with a few sheets of newspaper, securing with staples or string.

  3. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one. Tip in the flour, mixed spice, soaked dried fruit and any liquid from the bowl, plus your chosen nuts, if using. Stir everything together, then scrape into the cake tin. Using the back of your spoon, make a slight dent in the centre of the mixture, then bake for 1½ hrs.

  4. Reduce oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1, loosely cover the top of the cake with a double sheet of foil or baking parchment, and bake for another 45 mins-1 hr or until a skewer poked right to the bottom comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then lift out and wrap in greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Keep in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid, or wrapped in a large sheet of foil, in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Open the cake every week or two to feed by poking with a skewer in several places and dribbling over a little more of your chosen alcohol or tea.

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Comments, questions and tips

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cheflambey
7th Nov, 2016
5.05
Just made this again, the house smells amazing this morning. Cake is all wrapped up and ready for its first feed! Roll on Christmas.
mummybunny4's picture
mummybunny4
12th Dec, 2015
We use this recipe with beavers and cubs. It is very forgiving it doesn't matter if you mix by hand or machine. Ideal for children to use, we use tea as Scouting Rules no alcohol allowed parents and grandparents say it's a lovely cake.
KamMa
4th Dec, 2015
I made this a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Like other reviewers, I have always used my Delia's Christmas 'bible', in the past. I had too much mixture for my 23cm cake tin, but, it filled two loaf tins, perfectly. I did use, seriously, luxury fruit (all I could get here) which did swell up enormously during the steeping and my eggs were quite large. The cakes seemed to pass the skewer and, 'springy touch', test after the recommended time and temperature and I reckoned with the smaller volume of the loaf tins, it would be okay. However, they seemed a bit too moist when I opened them to feed the other day. Slightly scared to feed them again! Consequently, I'm tending to agree with previous reviewers recommending lower, slower cooking. They do smell fantastic, though.
topcatsecretary
27th Oct, 2015
Made this for the first time today as was looking for a change from my usual "boil & bake" Christmas Cake which I have done for many many years and only takes 2hrs in the oven - it smelt lovely whilst cooking but have to say the timings on the recipe are way out - took over 4hrs for my cake tester to come out clean in the middle although around the outside of the cake was cooked way before then - will see after feeding it (think I may just feed around the outside of the cake!!) how it turns out when its cut at Christmas am hoping the outside hasn't dried out too much waiting for the middle to cook and not be soggy - have to say if I make it again will probably follow Delia's temperatures & timings for it hopefully that will give a more even bake.
Di1
4th Nov, 2014
5.05
Making this now for the third year running. The timing does need to be adjusted as suggested by a number of other posts otherwise the cake is soggy. I bake for four hours or more using Delia's timings as a guide. This cake is slightly heavier than her classic Christmas Cake with more fruit, sugar and fat and it seems logical to use her timings to get a better bake.
cheflambey
22nd Oct, 2014
5.05
One week to go and I will be baking this amazing Christmas cake again, roll on crimbo!
Jules1006
15th Nov, 2015
So, after three attempts, over three years to get the cooking time right, I finally succeeded. (That's how good this cake is). I used this recipe and Delia's cooking temperature and time for her classic Christmas cake (as suggested by other contributors) - 140 degrees for 4 hrs to 4 and 3/4 hours. More likely to be closer to 4 and 3/4 hours if using a conventional oven setting and not fan assisted. If you prefer a VERY moist cake which is more like Christmas pudding in the centre, then I suggest you use the original cooking instructions. Either way this recipe is Fab! Happy baking :0)
Pickle14
31st Jul, 2014
The same happened to me, likewise I have a brand new range so the temperature was fine. I'm just hoping that after 4hours the rest if the cake isn't dry!
kokenyv
27th Dec, 2013
I just love this recipe. I prepared it for my father's birthday, as he just loves cakes like this. If you forget to soak the fruits the night before, like I did, you can put the alcohol+fruit mix to the microwave oven for medium level for 2-3 minutes. It will replace the nightover soaking. The cake is very moist and rich, highly recommend it, ideal for beginners going for foul-proof recipes. Thank you for sharing!
kittymc
15th Dec, 2013
Just made this cake and only went through the comments when after 3 hours, it still wasn't baked. Took 4 hours in fan oven using temperatures recommended. I wonder if used temps for conventional oven if it would have baked to time. Hope it tastes good:)

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millyboo
21st Nov, 2013
Hello, Please could someone tell me if i can use 100g of ground almonds instead of flaked (love ground almonds). Could this make my cake soggy. Its my first time making a christmas cake... Thanks.
kokenyv
27th Dec, 2013
Hello, You might have even eaten the cake already, but i just saw your question now. Yes you can definitely use ground almonds, as well. The flaked ones give crunchiness, the ground the soggyness :-). Good luck :-)

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