Christmas Cake Recipe
Grandma's Fruit Cake (Christmas Cake without Icing)source: Donna Hay
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
¾ cup (6floz) brandy
¾ cup chopped dates
1 cup currants
1 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¼ cups brown sugar
1½ cups sultanas
2¼ cups plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
2-3 tablespoons brandy, extra
250g (8¾oz) butter softened
3 cups raisins
Where to buy the ingredients
Where to buy Donna Hay's Christmas cook book
1. Place the fruit and nuts in a bowl and pour over the brandy.
2. Cover and allow to soak overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 140°C (285°F).
4. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy.
5. Gradually add the eggs and beat well.
6. Place the butter and fruit mixtures, flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a bowl and sit to combine.
7. Line a 20cm (8in) square cake tin with two layers of non-stick backing (parchment) paper. Spoon in the mixture and bake for 2 hours or until cooked.
8. Pour over extra brandy when the cake is hot.
Cool in the tin.
Classic Christmas Cakesource: Delia Smith
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ level teaspoon ground mixed spice
½ level teaspoon salt
1 lemon, grated zest
1 level dessertspoon black treacle
1 orange, grated zest
1lb (450g) currants
2oz (50g) almonds, chopped (the skins can be left on)
2oz (50g) glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
2oz (50g) mixed candied peel, finely chopped
3 tablespoons brandy, plus extra for 'feeding'
4 large eggs
4oz (110g) whole blanched almonds (only if you don't intend to ice the cake)
6oz (175g) raisins
6oz (175g) sultanas
8oz (225g) plain flour
8oz (225g) soft brown sugar
8oz (225g) unsalted butter
You will also need an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin or a 7 inch (18 cm) square tin, greased and lined with silicone paper (baking parchment).
Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin for extra protection.
Where to buy the ingredients
Where to buy Delia Smith's Christmas cook book
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1. You need to begin this cake the night before you want to bake it. All you do is weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and mix in the brandy as evenly and thoroughly as possible.
2. Cover the bowl with a clean tea cloth and leave the fruit aside to absorb the brandy for 12 hours.
3. Next day pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).
4. Then measure out all the rest of the ingredients, ticking them off to make quite sure they're all there. The treacle will be easier to measure if you remove the lid and place the tin in a small pan of barely simmering water.
5. Now begin the cake by sifting the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl, lifting the sieve up high to give the flour a good airing.
6. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until it's light, pale and fluffy.
7. Now beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the creamed mixture a tablespoonful at a time; keep the whisk running until all the egg is incorporated. If you add the eggs slowly by degrees like this the mixture won't curdle. If it does, don't worry.
8. When all the egg has been added, fold in the flour and spices, using gentle, folding movements and not beating at all (this is to keep all that precious air in).
9. Now fold in the fruit, peel, chopped nuts and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests.
10. Next, using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon and if you don't intend to ice the cake, lightly drop the whole blanched almonds in circles or squares all over the surface.
11. Finally cover the top of the cake with a double square of silicone paper with a 50p-size hole in the centre (this gives extra protection during the long slow cooking).
12. Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4½-4¾ hours. Sometimes it can take up to ½-¾ hour longer than this, but in any case don't look till at least 4 hours have passed.
13. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
14. When it's cold 'feed' it – make small holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy, wrap it in double silicone paper secured with an elastic band and either wrap again in foil or store in an airtight container. You can now feed it at odd intervals until you need to ice or eat it.