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Christmas Cake

Moist and fruity, this cake is a true Christmas classic

Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g/7oz butter
  • 200g/7oz dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. black treacle
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 800g/1¾lb mixed dried fruits
  • 300g Sultanas
  • 200g Raisins
  • 300g Currents
  • 100g/3½oz chopped mixed peel
  • 150g/5oz glacé cherries, halved
  • 100g/3½oz blanched almonds, chopped
  • 300ml brandy or sherry
  • For the topping

  • 400g/7oz marzipan
  • 1-2 tbsp. apricot jam, warmed
  • For the royal icing

  • 3 free-range egg whites
  • 600g/1lb 5oz icing sugar, sieved
  • 1½ tsp liquid glycerine
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Step 1

Place all the dried fruit, mixed peel and cherries in a mixing bowl. Pour over either 150ml of sherry, brandy or cold tea. Cover and leave overnight.

Step 2

Heat the oven to 140c. Grease a 20cm/8 inch round cake tin and line with baking parchment.

Step 3

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

Step 4

Add the treacle and vanilla essence to the butter and sugar mixture and continue to mix until light and fluffy.

Step 5

Slowly add the eggs to the mixture, ensuring it is completely combined before adding more. If the mixture begins to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour.

Step 6

Fold in the flour, salt and spices and mix until well combined.

Step 7

Add the dried fruit, mixed peel, cherries and almonds to the mixture and combine.

Step 8

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and make a slight hollow in the centre.

Step 9

Bake in the oven for 4 hours and test with a skewer. If it is not baked, place back in the oven and check every 10 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.

Step 10

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.

Step 11

Turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool.

Step 12

Once cooled, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tbsp. of brandy. Allow the brandy to soak into the cake.

Step 13

Wrap the cake in parchment paper and foil and place in an airtight container. You can continue feeding the cake (adding more brandy) every week until you are ready to ice and decorate your cake

Step 14

To decorate, place the cake on a board or cake plate. Knead the marzipan until soft.

Step 15

Roll out the marzipan and leave to one side. Brush the cake all over with apricot jam and place the marzipan around the cake.

Step 16

Cover and leave the cake for at least one day.

Step 17

To make the icing, whisk the egg whites until they begin to become light and fluffy. Then, slowly add the icing sugar at intervals until the icing makes soft peaks. Add the lemon juice and glycerine if required.

Step 18

Spread the icing all over the cake using a spatula. Decorate with Christmas ornaments.