Christmas Cake xxx

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 😉

Lulu xx

It’s nearly Christmas!! Marzipan for your Christmas cake & a Beef Rendang for when you have eaten enough Turkey!!

Hola!! Feliz Navidad!!

It is my last day in Spain this year, I travel back to blighty tomorrow for Christmas….it is blazing sunshine outside today, tomorrow I am going to be freezing!!

Just two recipes to share, the first is my easy peasy marzipan. Which is great for your Christmas cake, or just to make the marzipan fruit for nice little gifts.

After that is my Beef and Potato Rendang, which would be a perfect dish between Christmas and New year.


I couldn’t get hold of Marzipan in the little town we live in here in Spain, so I decided to make a batch. It was so easy I just looked online at a few recipes, this one was the simplest and it works great!! I doubt I will buy it ever again 😉

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175g icing sugar

175g ground almonds

1 egg

optional 1 tsp almond extract


Sift the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl, make a well in the middle and add the egg (I whisked the egg in a cup first). Also add your almond extract if using.

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Mix it all together with a spoon, once it starts to all stick together get your hand in there and make a dough.  The bowl should be clean once it is ready to knead.

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Sift icing sugar onto a clean work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth, this will not take long.  Viola you are done!! Simple.

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You can wrap this in cling film and place in the fridge if you do not need it straight away, as long as it is sealed well, it can also be frozen.  

To use on your Christmas cakes, you will need some Apricot jam (I used Nispero jam which I had made earlier in the year).

or try my Apricot Jam

Warm this in a pan.

Brush this over the top of your cake.  

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Roll the marzipan out to be slightly bigger then the cake top, thickness about a £ coin (or thicker if you love the stuff) then roll over the top of the cake and carefully cut away the edges.  You can place it over the full cake, that is up to you.

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Now roll out your fondant icing (I bought this).  brush a little water over the marzipan and place the icing over, again cut away.

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Now you can decorate, I made marzipan fruit, which I painted with food colouring.

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Using cocktail sticks arrange the fruit over the cake, I also used some real orange leaves to decorate.

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Marzipan heaven!!

Now for something a little different, a Beef and Potato Rendang, perfect dish for boxing day, or when you are at your wits end with the left over turkey ;-).  If you have beef on Christmas day this recipe could also use up the left over meat, you will not need to cook it for as long!

Beef and Potato Rendang

A Rendang is a Malaysian stew dish, which I think for me is a cross between an Indian and Thai curry.  The flavour has a sour and spicy taste, with zing from the lime zest and lemongrass, heat from the chillies and then a little creaminess from the coconut milk.  Slow cooking the beef so it is tender and melts in your mouth just makes it delicious.  This is not a saucy curry, and should be fairly dry, I do like to have a little bit of sauce with mine, but it should reduce down during the cooking time to be thick and coating the beef like a spicy warm blanket 🙂

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700g stewing/braising Beef


1 Tbsp. coriander

1 ½ tsp cumin

4 cardamom

4 cloves

4 garlic cloves

½ grated fresh turmeric or 1 tsp of ground

50g ginger (reserve a slice of this skin on for curry)

2 chillies (I used Bishop crowns that we had in the freezer from this years crop!)

4 large shallots/ 6 small peeled & roughly chopped

1 tsp salt

Lime zest

1 Tbsp. tamarind

2” chunk creamed coconut


3 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1 lemongrass

6 dried lime leaves

1 tin coconut milk

5/6 new potatoes halved with skin on


Heat a little oil or butter in a pan and add the shallots, soften these a little and then set aside.

Dry fry the following paste spices; coriander, cumin, cardamom and cloves.

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Once you smell the aroma remove from the pan and grind in a pestle and mortar.

Pop the ground spices into a blender, along with the garlic, ginger, chillies, shallots, salt, lime zest, tamarind, turmeric, creamed coconut.  Blitz this up to create your rending paste.

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ground spices, chillies, garlic and ginger

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add in the shallots, coconut and lime zest

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Rendang paste

Heat some oil in a pan, pop in the star anise and cinnamon, fry for a few minutes to release the aroma.

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Add the paste to this pan.  Fry the paste for a few minutes to activate all of the spices, then add the beef, coat it in the paste and brown.

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Next bash the lemongrass and cut in halve.

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Add this to the pan along with the 1 slice of ginger, lime leaves give a good stir then pour in the coconut milk.

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You can cook this on the hob, but I prefer to slow cook this in the oven.

Place into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees with the lid on the pan and cook for around 45 minutes or until the beef is tender.

Once the beef is falling apart add the potatoes, remove the lid so the sauce can reduce, stir and pop back in the oven and cook until the potatoes are soft.

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Serve with rice and lime wedges, I also sprinkled some coriander over the top.

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It was delicious!!

I hope you are all excited and ready for Friday!!

Lots of love Lulu xx