Christmas Cake
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Christmas Cake

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Serves 12

A Christmas essential, best made a while in advance and feed with alcohol every week or so before you cut it.

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  • 250g raisins
  • 250g chopped dates
  • 200g mixed peel
  • 200g glace cherries, cut in half or quarters
  • 50g whole blanched almonds, chopped a bit
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 300ml mulled wine, you could use brewed tea if you prefer, I once even used ginger beer
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened, and extra for greasing
  • 250g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp. mixed spice
  • 100g ground almonds
  • To top:
  • a selection of nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts etc) and glace cherries
  • Warmed apricot jam to glace


    1. Half an hour before you are about to go to bed, the night before you are going to make you cake you need to start preparing. Take a pan and pour on your mulled wine, add the fruit and heat gently. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes, turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave over night as you go to bed. By the morning the fruit may look like an unidentifiable mush but do not worry.
    2. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C/Gas Mark 3. Grease and double-line a deep cake tin use a 20cm square tin or a 22cm square tin. Make sure your baking parchment is about 2.5 cm taller than your tin. Wrap a few sheets of baking parchment around the tin and secure with string.
    3. In a bowl, cream the sugar, butter and vanilla extract until light and creamy.
    4. . Add the eggs one by one, beating between each addition. Then, spoon in the flour, mixed spice, juicy fruits, ground almonds, almonds and walnuts into the egg mixture. Fold together and stir until all combined.
    5. Scrape the mixture into your prepared tin. Smooth the top of the cake with the back of a spoon. Using a spoon make a slight indentation in the centre, this will stop the cake becoming a volcano shape.
    6. This is the point where if you want to you could top the cake with nuts etc.. in a pretty pattern if you are not going to ice it at the end.
    7. Bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours, then reduce the oven temperature to 140C/120C/Gas Mark 1. Now bake for a further 45 minutes-1 hour. Push a sharp knife through the centre of the cake, right to the bottom and of it comes out clean it is done.
    8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, then remove from the tin and wrap in baking parchment, you can then store it in a cake tin with a tight fitting lid in a cool place.
    9. You don’t want your cake to dry out, so every week or so prick the cake and then drizzle with a spoonful or two of wine or tea. If you want to use and ice straight away you will need to let it dry out a little over night.
    10. If you have covered your cake with nuts and the like, then the day you or going to serve it (or perhaps the day before) glace with the warmed apricot jam (just warm in the microwave) using a pastry brush for a shiny effect.

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