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Christmas Cake

My Christmas cake has developed over the years to become a delicious easy bake, which can be made last minute as it doesn’t require feeding. Making your own Christmas cake will taste so much better than shop bought and you can impress your guests.

 

Makes 1 x 8 inch cake or 12 mini tall cakes

Ingredients

1kg of mixed dried fruit

250g glace cherries, cut in half

100g mixed peel

100ml strong hot tea

2 tablespoon marmalade

100ml alcohol (I use a mix of port, brandy, sherry & amaretto, but you can you the flavours you like or substitute the alcohol for orange juice)

Zest of 2 oranges

250g margarine

250g soft brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon golden syrup

50g walnuts chopped

25g blanched almonds chopped

25g pecan nuts, chopped

100g self-raising flour

150g plain flour

2 teaspoons mixed spice


Method

1. Put the dried fruit, glace cherries and mixed peel into a large container. Mix the hot tea and marmalade until the marmalade has dissolved, pour over the fruit and mix well. Add the alcohol and orange zest and mix well. Cover and leave to soak, stirring each day, leave for a minimum of 3 days but I sometimes leave mine for a week or two, which only adds to the flavour.

2. Grease and line an 8-inch tin, I also line the outside of my tin to stop the cake from colouring on the side too quickly. Preheat the oven to 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1.

3. Add the sugar and margarine to a large bowl and beat until lighter in colour and creamy, I prefer to use an electric hand mixer, but you can do it by hand. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to mix until they are fully incorporated if the mix starts to curdle add a handful of the flour.

4. Add the flours, mixed spice, nuts, golden syrup and a pinch of salt, mix by hand until blended together. Stir in the soaked fruit and mix well.

5. Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface. (at this point add your nuts and cherries for decoration if not using icing to decorate)

6. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 4 ½ - 5 hours, it should feel firm to the touch, be golden brown and a skewer inserted should come out clean. Check after an hour and every hour and cover with foil with the cake is colouring too quickly. Leave to cool completely in the cake tin.

7. When the cake is completely cool, wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper with our removing the lining paper as this helps to keep the cake moist. Then wrap in foil and place in an airtight container, I find a sweet tin works best.


This will keep for 6 months, so the ultimate make ahead. If you want to feed the cake, pierce the cake all over with a skewer and pour over a little sherry, each week before Christmas. However, I never feed my Christmas cake, I always forget and this recipe doesn’t need it, the cake will stay rich and moist up until Christmas and beyond.


1 quantity of the mix will give you 1 round or square 9 inch Christmas cake, but it can also be used to make 16 smaller individual cakes or 2 loaf tin cakes.


See below for how to decorate you Christmas cakes.

 
 

Decoration with out icing

Extra blanched almonds

Extra glace cherries

Extra Whole walnuts

3 tablespoon apricot jam


Once the cake is in the tin ready for the oven use a selection of nuts and cherries to decorate the top.


When ready to serve, heat up the jam in a saucepan and brush all over the top of the cake, I like to do 2 or 3 layers to make it very shiny.

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Decoration with icing

500g golden marzipan

500g ready to roll fondant

3 tablespoon apricot jam

Icing sugar for dusting


When ready to decorate, place the cake on the serving dish. Heat up the jam and brush all over the top of the cake. Using icing sugar to roll out the marzipan, I use the bottom of my cake tin as a rough guide to the size of my circle, cut it out with a knife and place on top of the cake.


Roll out the fondant again using icing sugar, again use the bottom of the cake tin as a guide, but the fondant should be 1-2 inches wider and I cut out the fondant with a wavy edge (when it’s added to the cake I want it to look a bit like snow). Brush the marzipan with a small amount of cooled boiled water and add the fondant on top. I use a snowflake cutter to decorate the top of my cake.

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