There I said it Christmas. Christmas! Christmas! CHRISTMAS! I even restrained myself until November. To all the Grinches out there I have this to say, you can't have a handmade Christmas if you start in December, also you can't spread the cost of Christmas that way either.
Making a Christmas cake is the most satisfying thing to do, even if you don't like fruitcake they make great gifts and baking one makes your house smell of Christmas. I made my first cake with my mum when I was 8 years old and since then I have played about with recipes, make tweaks and eventually come up with this one. It is nice to have one to call my own and pass down through the family, I am sentimental that way.
The great thing about this recipe is you do not need to pre-soak your fruit. You also get to play about with what fruit you use. It is also filled with almond, which I am a huge fan of.
you will need;
125g ground almonds
125g flaked almonds
150g brown sugar
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp ground cloves
2tsp mixed spice
1tbsp black treacle
zest & juice of 2 oranges
1kg mixed fruit (I used currants, golden raisins, mixed peel, cranberries)
- In a pan put the zest, juice, fruit, alcohol, butter, spices and sugar. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5mins or until the butter has melted.
- Leave to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2.
- The key to a fruitcake is not letting the sides burn so you need to double line a cake tin with greaseproof paper. Then wrap a double layer of brown paper around the outside and tie with string.
- I used a 10inch/25cm cake pan which is quite large but that is because it is my preference to have a shallow cake. Fruitcake can be heavy and this way the slices are less daunting. You can change the cake pan size to get a deeper cake but you may need to bake it for a little longer.
- Add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, flaked almonds and treacle. Mix well and then pour into the prepared cake pan. Make a small dent in the centre so that you have a flat top when the cake rises and cooks.
- Bake for 2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin before removing and wrapping in baking parchment. Every week you need to make small holes with a skewer and feed the cake with either brandy or whiskey, whichever you decided to use. Feed the top of the cake one week and the bottom the week after alternating this way until the week before you ice your cake when you don't feed it. I feed a tablespoon each week. There is no way you can eat at my house and drive afterwards at Christmas time.