This Christmas cake is rich, dark and moist, not at all like a crumbly, light
To make the cake, You will need:
- 1 lb, 450 g, currants
- 6 oz, 175 g, sultanas
- 6 oz, 175 g, raisins
- 2 oz, 50 g, glace cherries
- these must be rinsed, dried and finely chopped
- 2 oz, 50 g, mixed candied peel
- these must be finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons brandy, plus extra for feeding the cake
- 8 oz, 225 g, plain flour
- Half a level teaspoon salt
- A quarter of a level teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- Half a level teaspoon ground mixed spice
- 8 oz, 225 g, butter
- 8 oz, 225 g, soft brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 oz, 50 g, chopped almonds
- 1 level dessertspoon black treacle
- The grated zest of 1 lemon
- The grated zest of 1 orange for the top of the cake
- 4 oz (110 g) whole blanched almonds (To be used as an alternative to marzipan and icing
You will also need either an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin or a 7 inch (18
cm) square tin, greased, then lined with a double thickness of either
greaseproof paper, silicone or baking parchment, (bakewell paper).
After you have lined your tin, don’t forget to grease the paper again before adding your cake mixture.
Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin for extra protection.
All you do is weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and stir in the brandy well.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave the fruit and brandy to absorb and combine their flavours for
about 12 hours overnight.
Next day pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275 F, 140 C, 120 Fan.
Now weigh out all the rest of the ingredients methodically to make quite sure they’re all there.
The treacle will be easier to measure if you use a warm or greased spoon.
Now, start making the cake by sifting the flour, salt and spices into
a large mixing bowl, lifting the sieve up high to add air to the flour.
Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until light, pale and fluffy.
You can either use your electric mixer to do this or a good old-fashioned wooden spoon.
Now Break each egg separately into a small clean bowl to make sure it’s fresh, then Beat them together well with a fork in a
clean bowl before adding them to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
Do this by beating in a tablespoonful at a time.
If you add the eggs slowly by degrees like this the mixture won’t curdle.
If it does, don’t worry, it will not have any effect on your cake.
When all the egg has been added, put down your electric mixer. fold in the flour and spices with the back of a metal tablespoon, using gentle
movements, pushing the spoon from the outside of the mixture into the centre,
lifting it, turning the bowl round a little and repeating the process several times, (you mix like this to retain all that precious air that you have
just beaten in).
Now, using the same folding in method, fold in the fruit mixture that has been standing over night, plus the chopped glace cherries, chopped
nuts and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests.
Next, using a tablespoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin.
Spread it out evenly with a flat bladed knife, and, if you don’t intend
to ice the cake, lightly drop the whole blanched almonds in circles or squares all over the surface.
Finally cover the top of the cake with a double thickness of silicone or greaseproof paper.
(This paper cover gives extra protection, preventing the cake from going
brown on top during the long slow cooking time).
Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for between 4 and a half hours and 4 and three-quarter hours.
Sometimes it can take between half to three-quarters of an hour longer than this, depending on
your oven’s own temperature, but in any case don’t, whatever you do, be
tempted to open the oven door to check until the time is almost up.
At the end of the cooking time, lift the cake out carefully onto a clear work surface, remove the paper cover and use a skewer to test it.
Push the skewer straight down vertically into the centre of the cake and carefully
pull it straight out again.
If the cake is cooked, the skewer shouldn’t have anything stuck to it, although it may feel a little bit sticky because
of the moist nature of the cake.
Leave the cake in its tin to cool for about an hour, then turn it out, upside down on to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Feeding The Cake
When it’s gone completely cold, ‘feed’ it with brandy by making small
holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy, wrap it in a double thickness of
silicone or greaseproof paper held in place with string, sticky tape or large
Wrap again in a double thickness of kitchen foil, store the cake in an airtight container and keep it in a cool place.
You can now continue to feed it with a little more brandy, (as above), every
few weeks, until you are ready to decorate, marzipan or ice.