Feeding a Christmas cake with alcohol

Make & mature Christmas cake

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • Plus cooling
  • Easy
  • Cuts into 12-15 slices

Bake this festive fruit cake in advance of Christmas and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist

Nutrition: per slice (12)
HighlightNutrientUnit
kcal678
fat29g
saturates12g
carbs88g
sugars79g
fibre3g
protein9g
low insalt0.6g
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Ingredients

Method

  • STEP 1

    Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.

  • STEP 2

    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.

  • STEP 3

    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.

  • STEP 4

    Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.

  • STEP 5

    Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.

  • STEP 6

    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.

  • STEP 7

    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.

  • STEP 8

    Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.

RECIPE TIPS
STIR-UP SUNDAY
Get 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 CAKE
If 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.

Goes well with

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    Rating: 5 out of 5.182 ratings
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