This Christmas cake recipe never fails, it’s the basis of Delia Smiths classic Christmas cake that over the years I have adapted. But it always comes out perfect.
It is best to bake these as soon as you can to allow for the feeding process, and then the decorating. I have however cooked these the week before Christmas and fed the cake everyday and it still tasted great.
The smell as you bake will pull you straight into the festive spirit 🙂
It can be difficult to find some of the ingredients here in Spain but do not worry, I have recipes for candied peel, and marzipan on my blog. You can also replace the black treacle with molasses; which is not as dark but still creates a good cake. The Spanish brown sugar is also fine to use if you cannot get hold of soft brown sugar. If you use soft brown sugar and black treacle the sponge will be much darker in colour, the taste will be good neither way. Ultimately once this cake is fed with lots of Brandy who cares about these differences!
800g dried fruit, a mix of currants, sultanas, raisins and cranberries
50g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
4 tbsp brandy, plus extra for ‘feeding’
225g unsalted butter
225g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs, beaten in a jug
225 g plain flour
½ level tsp Salt
¼ level tsp Freshly grated nutmeg
½ level tsp Ground mixed spice
1 level tbsp Black treacle
50g glacé cherries, finely chopped
50g chopped nuts, I used almond and walnuts
1 lemon, Grated zest
1 orange, Grated zest
Soak the dried fruit, and the peel overnight with the brandy.
Heat the oven to 140 degrees.
Double line your tin with parchment paper. Also cut a piece to fit on the top of the cake for while it is cooking, cut a tiny hole in the centre; this is for the top to stop it from over browning.
Cream together the butter and the sugar with a whisk until pale and fluffy, then pour the eggs in, little by little, whisking as you go.
Sieve together the flour, salt, nutmeg and mixed spice from a height to give it more air. Then gently fold the flour into the creamed butter with a large metal spoon.
Drizzle in the treacle and fold once.
Add the fruit, peel, cherries, nuts, lemon and orange zest and gently fold into the mix.
Place into your cake tin, and flatten evenly, you can leave a little dip in the centre to make sure it does not rise too much, it is good to have a flat top for decorating.
Cook in the oven for around 4 hours, check the cake by piercing a skewer through the centre, if it comes up clean then it is cooked.
Let it cool a little in the tin before removing. Then let it fully cool before wrapping it up with brown paper and storing in a sealed container.
Feed the cake by piercing with a skewer or tooth pick and pouring a little brandy into the holes. Depending how much time you have before Christmas will depend on the feeding, I would say every other day for two weeks, one day from the top of the cake, and one day the bottom. This should produce a lovely moist sponge. I have however in the past only had a week to feed, so I fed it every day to the same success.
To decorate is your choice; you can add marzipan and icing or leave it plain. On some cakes I placed blanched almonds on the top before baking as you would a dundee cake…
For marzipan see my recipe here:
I like to eat my Christmas cake without icing and with cheeses such as wensleydale cheese, crackers and chutneys…
Last years cake decoration…
I will share this years decorations as soon as I have done them 😉