Homemade Christmas Cake

Homemade Christmas Cake

For a real homely Christmas, why not make your own Christmas Cake? It does takes some time and preparation but is well worth the effort and a large cake will last for months if stored correctly, just as long as the family don’t get to it first! We recommend including the Brandy which provides a robust flavour, wonderful aromas and additional moisture but you can leave this out for a non-alcoholic version.

Cake Ingredients for a 9″ round cake tin

  • 340 g Self Raising Flour
  • ½ tsp Table Salt
  • 2 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 x 100 g pack Ground Almonds
  • 1 x 500 g pack Currants
  • 1 x 500 g pack Raisins
  • 1 x 500 g pack Sultanas
  • 200 g tub Glace Cherries
  • 100 g bag Blanched Almonds
  • 200 g tub Cut Mixed Peel
  • Rind & juice of a large Lemon
  • 340 g Butter Spread or Unsalted Butter
  • 275 g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
  • 7 Large Eggs
  • 8 tbsp Brandy (half now, half later)

You will also need the following if icing your cake: (see below)

  • Marzipan and Apricot Glaze
  • Plus ingredients or requirements for Royal Icing and decoration

Ingredients for Marzipan with Apricot Glaze

  • Ready to Roll Marzipan 2 x 454g packs (can be rolled out to the thickness desired)
  • 1/2 lb Apricot Jam or Preserve
  • 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsps Water

Ingredients for Royal Icing

As a guide, the ingredients below will cover the top and sides of a 9 inch cake with 2 inch deep sides. Adjust to suit the size of your cake.

  • 5 Medium Egg Whites
  • 1 kg Icing Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Glycerine

Method

Step 1 – Preparing your cake tin

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10″ non-stick cake tin with ample butter, then line it with parchment paper, covering the side of the tin with an additional 2″ in height of parchment paper. Tie a layer of brown paper around the outside of your tin, ensuring the height of the brown paper is around 4-5″ inches higher than the height of your cake tin. This will stop the top of the cake from burning or blackening.

Step 2 – Dry ingredients

Using a large mixing bowl, sift the flour into the bowl then add the salt, mixed spice, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground almonds. Mix together well with a large spoon then add the sultanas, raisins, currants, glace cherries, mixed peel, and blanched almonds and blend thoroughly. It’s important the ensure that your fruit is mixed well and fully covered by the flour to avoid sticking.

Step 3 – Moist ingredients

In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar, butter and grated lemon rind and beat until soft or use an electric mixer. Next, beat 8 eggs one at a time and then stir them into the butter mix.

Step 4 – combine it all!

Using a large bowl, combine the moist mix with the flour & fruit mixture and mix together well using a wooden spoon. Then add the lemon juice and 4 tablespoons Brandy to the cake mixture which should be soft and moist at this stage. If dry, add an additional egg beaten with a little milk to soften the mix.

Step 5

Spoon your cake mixture into your prepared cake tin. Make the centre of the cake mix approx. 1½ ” lower than the sides which will create a more evenly baked cake at the end.

Step 6 – time to bake

Bake your Christmas cake in the lower half of a pre-heated oven at 150° C (300° F, Gas mark 2) initially for 1½ hours.

Step 7

After 1½ hours, reduce the oven temperature to 130° C (250° F, Gas mark ½) and bake the cake for a further 3 – 3½ hours. Cover the top of the cake with brown paper during the last few hours of cooking time to prevent burning. The cake is done when it begins to shrink from the sides but check by pushing a metal skewer into the centre of your cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked, if it comes out sticky, the cake needs a little longer in the oven.

Step 8

Once the baking is completed, remove your cake from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool. When completely cold, remove any blackened fruit on top if necessary then wrap the cake in tin foil, seal tightly to stop it from drying out and store it in a tin or plastic tub.

Step 9 – 6 weeks before Christmas

Invert the cake so that the bottom is now on the top, when adding the brandy the slightly harder top will be softened. Using a skewer, make 12 random holes in the top of the cake at least six near to the outside of the cake, and using a small funnel, pour in the 4 tablespoons of Brandy. Reseal the cake tightly and store until you are ready to ice or decorate it which should be done around 10 days before Christmas.

Step 10 – 10 days before Christmas – Add the Marzipan

The Apricot Glaze helps to hold the marzipan onto your Christmas cake

  • Slowly bring all the ingredients for the Apricot Glaze together in a saucepan
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for approx 5 mins
  • Sieve the mixture and return it to the pan, boiling gently for a further 5 mins
  • Cool before applying to your cake
  • Brush the cake with the Apricot glaze
  • Roll out the Marzipan and cover your cake (either just on the top or top and sides)

Step 11 – 24 hours after mixing the Royal Icing – Ice your cake

  • Separate the egg whites from the yolk ensuring there is no egg shell
  • Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy
  • Sift the icing sugar into a separate bowl
  • Add the icing sugar a little at a time into the bowl containing the egg whites and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon
  • Add the lemon juice when half the icing sugar has been added and beat well
  • Continue to add the remaining icing sugar slowly, beating as you do until the mixture starts to form ‘peaks’ as you draw it upwards
  • Stir in the glycerine which makes the icing softer
  • Cover your bowl with clingfilm and leave the icing to rest for 24 hours at an average room temperature
  • When you are ready to use, work the icing through before applying to the cake
  • Spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake
  • Leave to set before adding any piped decoration

If softer icing is required store in a plastic type container. If a slightly harder icing is preferred store in a cardboard box, (this draws the moisture out of the icing).

Recommended Equipment

  • 9 inch Quick Release Cake Tin
  • Parchment Paper
  • Brown Paper
  • Small Funnel

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