It's never too late - get the Christmas Cake in the oven
If you haven’t tried making Christmas Cake before…please do! This is the simplest recipe and to make it all the better you don’t need to go and buy loads of individual bags of fruit that you’ll never use again…go to Lidl and buy the 800g bag of pre soaked fruit. Simples!
I remember my mum making this recipe, always around October time. I used to adore the taste of the cake mixture but not the fruit. As I’ve matured, so too have my taste buds and now I’m a full convert of Christmas cake (with cheese if possible please!).
I’m still very picky about the Christmas cake I eat. And I won’t eat shop bought, I just don’t like the taste of it. This is a really light recipe and I’ve tried it out on various friends and family and I always hear “I’m not a great lover of Christmas cake but that’s lovely and light”. So do, give it a go!
I added it to a baking group I’m a member of on Facebook and a few people were inspired and made it, all first timers. It’s fab to see!
It might look complicated but honestly it’s really not. And the almond paste is beyond different from the strong, over whelming taste of artificial almonds in shop bought marzipan. It’s a much milder, sweeter taste and it’s beaut. I recently made it at a Christmas cake class and even the biggest doubters were converted.
Sounds like I’m blowing my own trumpet but all I’m saying is…give it a go. Dead simple and much less complicated than you’d imagine!
This will keep wrapped in greaseproof paper and tinfoil for months, Don't be afraid to unwrap and sprinkle a few drops of brandy, whiskey, port, or rum on top of your cake for a few weeks prior to icing.
Christmas Cake Recipe
225g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon treacle
Grated ring and juice of 1 orange
250g plain white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
50g ground almonds
800g mixed fruit OR
125g glace cherries, halved
125g candied peel)
1. Preheat oven to 150oC. Line a 20cm/8inch deep cake tin with a layer of foil and a layer of greaseproof paper lightly greased both sides. Allow both foil and paper to extend above the sides of the tin about 4cm. Tie a double thickness of brown paper around the outside of the tin.
2. Cream together butter, sugar, treacle and orange rind
3. Sift flour, baking powder, spices. Add fruit and chopped and ground almonds
4. Beat eggs until frothy
5. Add half of the beaten egg and 4 tablespoons of flour and fruit to butter and sugar. Beat in.
6. Add remaining egg and rest of the dry ingredients, gradually adding strained orange juice. Mix thoroughly
7. Spoon into tin
8. Bake at 150oC for 1 ½ hours. Turn down heat to 130oC and bake for further 3 – 3 ½ hours. Leave to cool in the tin.
Once cool, warp in tinfoil and greaseproof paper. This will keep for months. A few days before you want to eat it, make the almond paste.
325g ground almonds
175g sieved icing sugar
175g caster sugar
1 large egg white
1 large egg
Juice of ½ lemon
Few drops of almond essence
Few drops of vanilla essence
2 teaspoons of brandy/rum/sherry
1. Mix almonds and sugars together
2. Beat whole egg and add lemon juice, vanilla, almond and brandy/rum/sherry
3. Using a wooden spoon, mix liquid carefully into almond and sugar. Do not add it all at once because if the mixture becomes too soft it will be difficult to handle. Work it into a firm, manageable paste, kneading a little with hands
4. Brush top and sides of cake with a little beaten egg white to give a tacky surface to help paste stick to cake
5. Dredge some sifted icing sugar onto bench and rolling pin
6. Measure the circumference of your cake and the height of it using a piece of string. Your measurements will give you a long narrow rectangle
7. Roll out the larger piece of paste just long longer than the length of your rectangle and it will fit nicely round the sides of the cake
8. For the top of the cake, shape the remaining piece of paste into a round and roll it out slightly larger than the top of the cake. Using your piece of string check the size of paste against the top of the cake. Do not lift the paste to the cake.
9. Turn the cake upside down on to the paste and trim neatly. Turn cake the right way round with the paste in position – this will give you a nice flat surface to paste.
10. Brush almond paste all over with egg white and leave to dry over night before icing.
450g icing sugar
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons glycerine
2 teaspoons of lemon juice, strained
1. Sieve icing sugar three times to ensure there are no lumps.
2. Put egg whites into a bowl and beat lightly
3. Add icing sugar to egg whites, a tablespoon at a time. Beat each spoonful in quickly with a round bladed knife
4. Add glycerine and lemon juice and mix in well
5. Using a plastic scraper or an off-set palette knife and work your way around the sides of the cake first. Then finish on the top. If your icing is hard to spread you can dip your palette knife into hot water but ensure to dry it completely before putting into icing.
6. Piping bags can be added, or colouring can be added (drop by drop) to create decorations/patterns