I wanted to share this Christmas cake recipe with you before Christmas, but as it was a present for my dear old Dad, I’ve had to keep it on the down low. So I realise it maybe a little too late to start a Christmas cake this year, but maybe this might just inspire you to get baking nice and early next Christmas…
You’ll need (be warned, you’ll need quite a lot!):
For the Cake:
- 500g Luxury Dried Mixed Fruit
- 60g glace cheery
- 85ml Brandy (plus more for weekly feeds)
- 3 Eggs
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Zest & Juice of 1 Orange
- 175g Butter
- 175g Dark Brown Sugar
- 1tbsp Black Treacle
- 175g of Self-Raising Flour
- 50g Ground Almonds
- 50g Walnuts
- 1tbsp Mixed Spice
For the Topping:
- 2tbsp Peach Jam
- 400g Ready-Made Marzipan
- 400g Icing Sugar
- 1tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Egg White
Here’s what to do:
- Into a large bowl, remove the zest from your lemon and orange with a grater, then squeeze out the orange juice. Pour in your brandy, cover with cling film and leave to soak overnight.
- The next day, pre-heat the oven 150°C, grease and line a round cake tin with a removable base.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and black treacle until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs to your mixture, one at a time and set to one side.
- Next grab yourself a new mixing bowl and combine the flour, ground almonds and mixed spice and stir thoroughly. Add your flour mixture to the prepared butter mixture, and fold in gently.
- Pour in yesterday’s brandy soaked fruit as well as the walnuts. Fold gently together until the mixture is throughly combined and then add to your prepared cake tin.
- Place in the centre of the oven, and bake for 2 hours or until golden brown and springy to touch. Use a skewer to test the cake – if there is still any wet mixture on the skewer bake for another 20 minutes until it comes out clean. The outside of the cake will look quite dark, so don’t panic about the additional baking time.
- When the cake is cooked, allow to cool for an hour in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack. Using your skewer pierce the cake all over and add another tbsp brandy.
- Your cake can then be kept wrapped in foil or cling-film in a tin for up to 2 months (this is why it’s best to start early). Each week take out your cake and feed with 1tbsp of brandy to keep it moist and boozy.
Now it’s time for the fun bit… decorating..
- Warm the apricot jam to soften and brush over the whole cake to create a sticky layer.
- Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar, and roll out your marzipan. There’s lots of different ways to do this, but I found the easiest way was to roll out a huge piece of marzipan and attempt to cover the entire cake, smoothing it down to the cake surface as you go.
- You’ll be left with a couple of gaps, but just use little pieces of excess marzipan to fill them in. Then simply allow the marzipan layer to dry overnight in a cool place.
- The next day, beat the sifted icing sugar with the egg white and lemon juice until glossy.
Spread over the cake with a palette knife (the back of a spoon also works perfectly), forming soft, snowy peaks.
- Then decorate your Christmas cake with edible flowers, snowmen, silver balls or whatever else takes your fancy. I picked up my flowers and holly from eBay – they’re so many cute options on there!
Lastly allow to dry overnight, before storing away, wrapping up or cutting a slice.