Bake this festive fruit cake in advance of Christmas and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist.
- Prep Time: 25 min
- Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- Other: 30 min cooling fruit mix
- Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
- Servings: 12 – 15
- 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
- zest and juice 1 orange
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- 150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
- 250g pack butter, softened
- 200g light soft brown sugar
- 175g plain flour
- 100g ground almond
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 100g flaked almonds
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.
- Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
- Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
- Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
- Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
- Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
- To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it.
- Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
- 2021-11-07 – First attempt. All seems to have gone well. Used packing paper as the outside covering of the tin.
- 2021-12-23 – Made marzipan to cover the cake and a few Christmas tree marzipan cutouts to liven it up a bit. Took it to my sister’s on Christmas Eve and let people give it a try. It was exactly like I expected although I guess most people here just don’t have a taste for fruit cake any more. It does have a bit of a bad name in the US. The other guests gave it a try but only 1 or 2 seemed to think it was anything special. Fortunately I can freeze it so will probably take a couple quarters and put them away for later in the winter after Christmas at the farm is over. Next year I may try to make a few smaller cakes rather than one big one so they save a bit better.
- BBC Good Food – James Martin – Make & Mature a Christmas Cake