This year is my second attempt at making a Christmas cake. I am not a fan of fruit cakes at all, but I made one to bring home for Christmas last year and it went down a storm. Though that could be something to do with the copious amounts of rum I dribbled into the cake during the weeks leading up to Christmas!
Unfortunately, dope that I am, I never wrote down the exact quantities of ingredients I used. I knew I based my recipe on English Mum’s personalised Christmas cake, so I started with that again, and with a bit of thinking and some consultations with those who actually ate it last year, I think I have managed to recreate it.
At least I hope so, as two extra cakes have been requested this year! I’m also going to go the whole hog and ice two of them. I’ll report back on that (scary) process closer to Christmas.
These quantities produce a nice deep 7in round cake. If you have smaller or bigger tins, adjust accordingly. For different sizes and variations, check out the original.
What You Need:
675g mixed fruit. I used a mixture of currants, raisins and sultanas, with a couple of glace cherries. I despise mixed peel, but if you fancy it, go for it.
125ml rapeseed oil
3 tbsp honey
juice of 1.5 oranges
90ml dark rum
150g dark brown sugar
1.5 tsp spices – I used 0.75 tsp cinnamon, 0.75 tsp mixed spice
1 cube of crystallised ginger, finely chopped
25g hazelnuts, chopped
1 heaped tsp marmalade
juice of half a lemon
150g plain self-raising flour
75g ground almonds
What To Do:
Grease and double line the bottom and sides of a round 7 inch tin. I use a springform tin for easy removal. Preheat the over to 150C fan.
Gather together all your ingredients. Place the fruit, oil, honey, orange juice, rum, sugar, spices, chopped hazelnuts and ginger into a large saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat before the mixture boils (and you lose all the booze!).
At this point I add the lemon juice and marmalade. Have a taste and see what you think. It might be sweet enough for you, so leave out the marmalade, or maybe the lemon juice isn’t needed. Or just have a shot of rum – it’s Christmas!
Leave to cool until it’s about room temperature. Then add the eggs and mix in. Next, stir in the flour and ground almonds.
Transfer to the prepared tin, smoothing out the top.
Pop the cake into the oven and bake for 90 mins to 2 hrs, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake emerges clean, with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Leave to cool in the tin.
Once completely cooled, remove from the tin, peel off any parchment paper and wrap well, firstly in a layer of clean parchment paper, and then in a layer of aluminium foil.
If you’ve planned ahead and have a few weeks before serving, be sure to feed it with some dark rum (or booze of your choice) every now and then! Just prick the cake (top or sides) with a cocktail stick and dribble a teaspoon of booze over the cake. Then wrap it up again. But, if it’s a bit late for all that, don’t worry. It will still taste wonderful.
There’s still loads of time to make your own Christmas puddings too! I’m a bit behind my usual schedule this year – I’m going to start my puddings tonight. I’m going to use the same recipe as last year which made a delicious, moist pud.
Now, get baking!