The Perfect Christmas Cake

Known to many as the classic taste of Christmas, making and maturing a Christmas cake is easier than you think!

Here at Charlies we have a lovely recipe that is sure to wow friends and family over the festive period; from ingredients to baking utensil suggestions you’ll be well equipped to make the perfect Christmas cake!

When is the Best Time to Make a Christmas Cake?

With just under 11 weeks until the festive season you may be thinking, is it too early to be making cake for December? Apparently not; fruit cakes can be frozen and stored for up to one year if needs be, however maturing the perfect Christmas cake is all dependant on personal taste. If you prefer a boozy and rich type cake then we would suggest starting 3 months before Christmas to ensure for optimum feeding time. If you’re looking for something slightly lighter then 6 weeks in advance will probably be for you.

Whatever your preference we’re sure you will love this great Christmas Cake guide.

The Recipe

Cooking Time – 2hrs            Serves – 12/15 slices

Ingredients:

You may need some of our handy kitchen scales or a convenient measuring cup set to help make light work of ingredient prep

  • 1kg of mixed dried fruits (use a mix of raisins, currents and sultanas)
  • Zest & juice of an orange
  • Zest & juice of a lemon
  • 150ml of preferred tipple + extra for feeding (Brandy, Sherry, Whisky and Rum are popular)
  • 250g of softened butter
  • 200g of light, soft brown sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g of ground almonds
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tsp of mixed spice
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp of ground cloves
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Take a Large Saucepan and add the 1kg of mixed, dried fruit, the zest and juice of both the orange and the lemon, 150ml of alcohol of choice, 200g soft brown sugar and 250g of softened butter. Set this mixture over a medium heat.
  2. Bring this mixture to the boil and then lower the heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Once this has simmered, carefully pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Pre heat your oven to 130°C Fan/150°C/Gas Mark 2.
  4. Now it’s time to prep your baking tin. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of parchment paper on the bottom and around the sides. Then line the outside of the tin with a double layer of newspaper and carefully secure with some string. The newspaper will insulate the tin and stop the outside of the cake from scorching.
  5. Once your fruit mixture has cooled down add 175g of plain flour, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp of baking powder, 1 tsp of ground cinnamon, 100g of ground almonds, 2tps of mixed spice, ¼ tsp of ground cloves, 100g of flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and finally 1 tsp of vanilla essence for taste. Stir the mixture, preferably by hand with a sturdy spatula or spoon as this will keep the fruit intact; be sure mix well so that no flour pockets are left or hidden.
  6. Carefully pour or spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and place on the middle shelf of your oven to cook for 2 hours.
  7. Once the timer has gone off take the cake from the oven and place on a flat heatproof surface. Glass worktop savers are always a great option as they look lovely on the worktop too.
  8. Using a skewer, pierce some holes into the cake being careful not to go all the way though and pour 1-2 tbsp of your alcohol of choice over the surface.
  9. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

How to Store and Feed your Cake

Once your cake is completely cool, carefully remove it from the tin and baking paper. To store the cake, wrap it in a double layer of fresh parchment paper before double layering it with a sheet of foil too. Ensure you leave the opening at the top of the cake as you will need to feed it with alcohol.

Feed the cake with 1-2tbsp of the alcohol of choice every fortnight or every 3 weeks, depending on your preferred taste.

Decoration

Decoration your cake is the finishing touch to all of your hard work. If you fancy, many like to create a traditional look with a layer of marzipan and icing, and maybe a berry on top. Another popular option that will also add to the taste is to glaze some fruit and nuts in some apricot jam and add to the top. Or if you’re more worried about the taste than décor, a sprinkle of icing sugar should finish your Christmas cake beautifully. Find the right items to help you create your masterpiece here.