650gdried mixed fruitssultanas, raisins, currants and candied citrus peel
200mlsherryor your preferred spirit
Juice of 2 medium oranges
250gsoftened unsalted butter in 2cm cubes
250glight brown muscovado sugar
1/2tspfreshly ground nutmeg
For the icing
1Jar of apricot jam
1pack of ready to roll marzipan
1pack of ready to roll white fondant icing
Icing sugar for dusting and for sticking down extra decoration
See above for step by step instructions and photographs for preparing your cake mix.
To ensure your dried fruit is plump, juicy and full of flavour; try to soak it overnight in your preferred choice of alcohol and fruit juice. I always use sherry and usually soak 650g of dried mixed fruit with 200ml of fino sherry and the juice from two average sized oranges. Cover with cling film and leave on the side overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C (fan)
This recipe makes enough cake mix for one 8 inch cake tin or two 6 inch cake tins.
Line your tin with grease proof paper and wrap with newspaper – see above for further instructions and pictures.
Set up your food mixer or mix with a hand whisk: The 250g of cubed butter and 250g light muscovado sugar go into the mixer first, along with 1 tablespoon of black treacle.
Start the mixer on a low speed until the ingredients have started to combine and then turn up to the top speed and leave to mix for at least 10 minutes - the butter and sugar should have combined into a light and fluffy mixture.
The next stage is the addition of the eggs, which takes time and patience if it is done correctly. Have your dry ingredients (plain flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, mixed spice, nutmeg, and vanilla) already mixed in a bowl to one side - spoonful’s of this may be needed if the mixture starts to split. Beat the 4 medium eggs together in a pour-able jug. Return to the butter mix and put the mixer back on high. Slowly, slowly trickle the beaten eggs into the butter mix. This usually takes me 15-20 minutes.
If at any point you feel the mixture is getting too sloppy or if you think too much egg went in all at once; then add a spoonful of the dry ingredients to prevent the mix from splitting. Ideally the mixture should stay creamy and well whipped.
Once all the egg has been mixed in remove the bowl from the mixer; add the remaining flour mixture and the soaked fruits and then use a spatula to gently fold in these ingredients.
Gently transfer the cake mix to the lined cake tin (if you are making two 6 inch cakes then divide the mixture evenly between the two tins). Use a spatula to even out the cake mix at the top of the tin.
To bake place the cake in the centre of the oven; the 6 inch cakes for 2 hrs and the 8 inch cakes for 2hrs 30 minutes. Check the cake 15 minutes before the end of these baking times by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake - if the skewer comes out clean then the cake is done.
Place the cake, still in the tin, on a wire rack to cool. Whilst cooling skewer the cake all over and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of sherry (or your preferred spirit). After half an hour or so carefully remove the cake from the tin and leave on the wire rack to cool completely.
If you still have several weeks before Christmas the cake can be wrapped in cling film and stored in a tin - unwrap once each week and feed with 2 tablespoons of sherry (or preferred spirit). This will enhance the flavour and help to keep the cake moist. Then ice your cake within the week before Christmas.
See above for further details and pictures on icing and toppings
ProperFoodie’s Christmas Cake and icing decoration https://properfoodie.com/chocolate-christmas-cake/