Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake
I've tried out a few recipes for Christmas cake over the years but I couldn't honestly say which one was the best.  I cannot remember from one December to the next the particular taste of a cake. Moistness is important, booziness essential and grittiness to be avoided (for me this means no currants). Most years I plump for Mary Berry's Christmas cake because it doesn't require any ingredients I don't normally stock. I have adapted it to suit my taste and you can too. If you don't like candied peel or can't eat nuts for instance just replace them with more fruit. It's really easy to put together -just mix everything, bung it in a tin and bake.

Step 1)
Soak 2 lb fruit in brandy overnight (see yesterday's post).
I used
4 oz glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and quartered
4 oz dried apricots, snipped in pieces
11 oz sultanas
11 oz raisins
2 oz candied peel
4 tbsp of brandy or really any spirits you like.
 I suppose you could use orange or apple juice but that's missing the point.

Step 2)
Prepare your cake tin. This is an 8 inch (20 cm) springform tin. I've buttered and lined it. I have some reusable liners cut to fit my tins.

Step 3)
Put the following  into a large mixing bowl and mix well.

8 oz plain flour
8 oz dark muscovado sugar
8 oz softened butter. NOT MARGARINE
4 large eggs
2 oz chopped almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)
1 scant tbsp black treacle
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
¼ ( a quarter) tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice

Step 4)
Tip in the soaked fruit and mix together.

Step 5)
Turn into the prepared tin and cover with two layers of baking parchment. You can buy ready cut discs of baking parchment from Lakeland, one packet lasts for years.

Step 6)
Bake at 140°c (120°c fan oven)/Gas 1 for 4½ -¾ hours.

Step 7)
Once cool stab the cake all over with a skewer and splash on some brandy. Wrap well in greaseproof paper and/or foil and store in an airtight tin or plastic box somewhere cool and dry. Feed it with brandy once a week until Christmas and make sure you don't drive after eating it.

Because the oven was on for so long I thought I'd better make full use of the heat so I stashed a few large potatoes on the bottom shelf.

We had 'loaded' potato skins for supper in front of the telly - not something we do often.
Spring onions, sweetcorn, cheese and crispy bacon mashed up with a little cream. The skins were wonderfully chewy and crispy after their long cooking.

: :
I must show you how the Quince Tree's leaves have changed colour-over night seemingly. 

Mary Berry's recipe can be found in Mary Berry's Baking Bible and Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book.


  1. Lovely cake.No one but me eats it here so I don't make it as I eat it all and that is not good.

  2. It's got to be moist and taste of brandy for me which is why I like the weekly pricking and dousing of booze on our Christmas cake.

    Nina xxx

  3. I bestow upon you the mantle of domestic goddess, everything you make looks amazing. I made a Black Forest cake for my daughters birthday and I actually thought of you when I decorated it and the thought was 'Sue would have made a better job of this' It did taste amazing tho I must admit.
    xx Sandi

  4. Hi Sue. Did you see Saturday Kitchen yesterday? Some one rang in and asked what recipe they could suggest for using up Quinces. I didn't catch the answer but you may be able to iPlayer it. Also I thought of you on Friday when a lovely student brought me a jar of Quince Jelly she had made so I told her to bob by your blog for some inspiration. x

  5. What a superbly festive jewelled cake, tis the season for jolly-ness and spirited fun xox

  6. That tiny tree produces all those quinces?

  7. I use Mary Berry too. I always use ground almonds rather than chopped almonds - I think it makes the cake more moist.
    Those potatoes look so good that they're making me hungry.

  8. Your Christmas cake looks so good. I like it moist with a lot of brandy :). I work with Better Recipes and am now focusing on Christmas cake recipes. I am going to try this one for sure. Other good Christmas cake recipes such as Eggnog Cake with Brandied Sauce or Applesauce Rum Cake with a Dark Rum Glaze can be found here Christmas Cake Recipes

  9. Hi Sue , wish I had seen this earlier today. Put my fan oven on 130 degrees ( 10 degrees lower than Delia said ) but mine still cooked a bit quick ( 3 3/4 ) hours. Hope it's not dry....hopefully brandy will help :0)
    Jacquie x

    1. Feed it with plenty of booze Jacquie and it'll be lovely and moist.

  10. Combining quince and Christmas Cake..... how do you think it would work out if I used homemade quince jelly to stick on the marzipan rather than the traditional sieved apricot jam?

    1. I can't see any reason why quince jelly wouldn't do the job. You may find its flavour is a bit lost amongst all the cake flavours.

  11. Anonymous6:55 pm GMT

    Thank you once again, Sue. Happy Christmas to you. Linda


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