It may seem a little early to talk about Christmas cake but it’s stir-up Sunday this weekend and the best time to make your gorgeous Christmas cake so that it has time to mature and develop before the big day. I’m going to share with you my ultimate Christmas cake recipe for you to knock up this Stir-up Sunday and impress your family and friends this year.
The key to a great Christmas cake is getting ahead – soak your fruits in festive booze for at least 24 hours (3 days is best) before you want to make your cake. I tend to do this in a big kilner jar so I can keep shaking the fruits to ensure they are all beautifully coated but a large bowl will work too.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and personalise your cake. Where I use hazelnuts and Cherries ; you could use cranberries and walnuts or you could up the orange zest and add some dark chocolate chips making a fabulous chocolate orange variation of a classic! On the recipe I shall put a star next to any ingredient that can be swapped along with some suggested alternatives. As long as you use the same weight it will be delicious!
Usually when I make a cake I use an electric mixer but it seems prudent that such a traditional cake be made the old fashioned way – with a wooden spoon and some elbow grease! Get the whole family involved, taking turns to stir the cake and you shall have a wonderful cake in no time that everyone can feel proud of. Things really do taste better if you make them at home.
Harrie’s ultimate Christmas Cake
1kg mixed dried fruit
100g Glace cherries *
100g Mixed peel
350g Dark brown sugar
6 Eggs – I love Clarence Court
350g Plain flour
1tsp Mixed spice
1tsp Ground cinnamon
1tsp Ground ginger
Half cup Brandy/whisky/cherry brandy/cointreau/port
Juice and zest of 2 large oranges
50g Hazlenuts * (Almonds, walnuts, macadamia, pecans)
35g Ground almonds
2 Tbsp Black treacle
-At least 24 hours before making your cake put your dried fruit, cherries, mixed peel, orange juice and zest, spices and booze in a large jar/bowl and leave to mature.
-Preheat oven to 140’c and line a deep 8” cake tin with baking parchment
-Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy or until your arm aches!
-Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mix well between each addition.
– Sift in the flour along with all the fruit mix, the ground nuts, whole nuts and treacle and stir together until evenly combined.
-Spoon into your tin, press a disk of greaseproof on top of the cake and bake for 4.5 hours.
-Once out of the oven brush with some more booze and wrap well in cling film.
-Brush with booze once a week until christmas!
All images created by Cook & Capture