By Angela Patel
Looking for the best ever traditional British recipe for a Christmas Cake? Guest blogger Angela Patel shows us the most classic way to bake the all important dessert this Christmas day, rich in fruit and spices. Delicious!
Nothing says Christmas is coming more than the aroma of a spiced rich fruit cake slowly baking in the oven. To allow the flavours to really mature, it’s best made a few weeks before the big day but even if you’re running late with your Christmas prep and make it at the last minute this one will still taste delicious.
The choice of decoration is up to you but for a simple and effective topping try a mix of dried apricots, nuts and glace cherries liberally brushed with a sticky apricot glaze.
Kitchen tools needed: Cole & Mason Nutmeg Grinding Mill
Prep: 40 mins, plus overnight soaking
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
- 750g mixed dried fruit
- 50ml brandy
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 225g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg, ground in the Cole & Mason Nutmeg Grinding Mill
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 225g unsalted butter, softened
- 225g light muscovado sugar
- 4 medium eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 75g ground almonds
- 75g glace cherries, quartered
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Place the mixed dried fruit in a large bowl. Add the brandy and orange juice and stir well. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/Gas Mark 1. Line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with a double thickness of baking paper. Sift together the flour and spices into a bowl.
- Using a hand-held electric mixer (or stand mixer), beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour mixture every so often to prevent the mixture curdling.
- Fold in the brandy-soaked dried fruit, golden syrup, ground almonds, glace cherries, orange and lemon zest and lemon juice, and mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon into the prepared tin. Smooth the top then make a slight dip in the centre with the back of the spoon. Wrap a double thickness of brown paper or newspaper around the outside of the tin and secure with kitchen string.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 3-31/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 1 hour then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Wrap the cold cake in baking paper then foil and store in a cool dry place. If you like you can ‘feed’ the cake weekly with brandy. Simply unwrap the cake and pierce the top with a skewer then drizzle 2-3 teaspoon of brandy over the top then re-wrap.
Wrapping the outside of the tin with brown paper helps to ensure even cooking of the cake. If the top of the cake starts to over-brown before the end of the baking time, lay a circle of baking paper over the top.
Instead of brandy you can use dark rum or whisky. For an alcohol-free cake just up the orange juice for soaking the dried fruit.