How to Make a Christmas Cake

Two Methods:Make the CakeDecorate the Cake

Are you looking for a cake with a unique Christmas appeal? Try this recipe to make a traditional English Christmas cake that includes brandied fruit and almonds. You can bake this cake days in advance of your Christmas celebration.

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 ounce. (28 grams) almonds
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) currants
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) golden raisins
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) raisins
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) glace cherries, quartered (or Maraschino cherries)
  • 2 ounces (57 grams) mixed peel
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons good brandy
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon all-spice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, room temperature

For the Topping:

  • 7 ounces (200 grams) marzipan
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons warm apricot jam
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 pound(600 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1- ½ teaspoon liquid glycerin (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Method 1
Make the Cake

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    Chop the almonds in a food processor for about 10 seconds.
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    Pour the chopped almonds into a bowl. Add the dried fruit and the grated lemon and orange rinds. Pour the brandy over the mixture. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture to soak overnight, stirring every few hours, if possible.
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    Preheat your oven to 325 F (160 C) or gas mark 3.
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    Sieve the flour, salt, and spices into a large mixing bowl.
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    Cream the softened butter with the brown sugar, once creamed add the treacle and eggs one at a time mixing between each addition.
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    Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until they form a dough.
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    Drain the juices from the soaked fruit and almond mixture. Refrigerate the liquid; you can use it to soak the cake later.
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    Combine the fruit with the cake mixture. Stir until the fruit is just incorporated.
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    Spray an 8" (20 cm) round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of the pan, if desired.
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    Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the batter out with the back of a spoon until the top surface is even.
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    Bake the cake for 2 hours and then turn the heat down to 300 F (150 C) or gas mark 2. Bake for an additional 90 minutes to 2 hours or until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean.
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    Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and turn it over onto a wire cake rack.
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    Remove the parchment paper (if you used it) and poke a few holes in the top of the cake with your toothpick. Pour the reserved brandy and dried fruit juices over the top of the cake.
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    Wrap the cake in double greaseproof paper. Store it in an airtight tin until you're ready to decorate it. You can open the paper occasionally and pour additional brandy over the top of the cake, if you wish.

Method 2
Decorate the Cake

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    Roll out the marzipan with a rolling pin so that you can over the top of the cake with it in a moment. Roll out additional strips for the sides of the cake.
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    Brush the cake with the warmed apricot jam. Cover the cake with marzipan and allow it to sit for at least 1 day in a cool place.
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    Beat the egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl on high speed until soft peaks form, which takes about 5 minutes. Add the glycerine (if using) and the lemon juice, and beat the icing until the ingredients are just combined.
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    Spread the icing over the cake using an offset spatula.
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    Decorate the cake with Christmas ornaments or dried fruit and nuts.
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    Served.

Tips

  • Treacle is a syrup made during the processing of sugar that is similar to golden syrup and molasses. If you can't find treacle, then substitute an equal amount of molasses into the cake. Golden syrup is just a bit runnier than treacle and may alter the batter.

Things You'll Need

  • Food processor
  • Bowl
  • Clean towel
  • 8" (20 cm) round cake pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Spoon
  • Toothpick
  • Double greaseproof paper
  • Airtight tin
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixer
  • Offset spatula
  • Christmas ornaments or dried fruit and nuts

Sources and Citations

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