This foolproof delicious Christmas Cake is a real winner. You need to get organised, stay calm and success is guaranteed every time.
Prepare your tin. As it has a long cooking time, the cake needs to be well protected from the heat source and a lined tin is not sufficient to do this.
Lightly grease a 24cm/9inch round or 20cm/8” square tin. I find spring form tins are easiest to use for this purpose but any type will do.
Line the tin with 1 layer of baking paper and wrap aluminium foil round the outside squeezing it round to fit closely.
Tie a double layer of brown paper or greaseproof around the outside over the foil and above the tin lip to extend about 5cm/2”.
225g/8oz soft brown sugar 1 tablespoon black treacle
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
265g/9oz plain white flour plus 2 rounded teaspoons baking powder, sieved together in a bowl 1 level teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 eggs well- beaten
1kg/2lb2oz dried fruit of your taste, raisins, currants, sultanas, glace cherries, cranberries, pineapples etc
50g/2oz ground almonds
50g/2oz chopped almonds
Brandy for feeding the cake after cooking. Pre-heat oven to 160C/GAS 3/320F
1. Cream butter, sugar and treacle together in a large mixing bowl.
2.Stir in 4 tablespoons of the flour and beat in the eggs, lemon zest and juice.
3. Add the spice to the rest of the flour and baking powder and stir well.
4. Add fruit and nuts to the flour to coat and stir into the creamed mixture. Make sure all the fruit and nuts are well distributed through the mixture.
5. Spoon cake mixture into tin carefully pressing down gently and smoothing over the top. Make a small depression in the centre of the cake. This gives a level top to the finished cake.
6. Place the tin on a baking sheet and place in the centre of the oven. Turn heat down to 150C/GAS 2/300F and bake at this heat for 30 minutes.
7. Turn heat down again to 140C/GAS 1/280F and bake for 2 hours. Check after this time how it is progressing and test to see if it is cooked by pushing a metal skewer down through the centre of the cake. If it is cooked it will come out clean with no cake mixture attached to the skewer. If it isn’t cooked and bits of mixture are clinging to the skewer, then cook for a further 30 minutes and test again. Repeat this as necessary until the cake is completely cooked.
8. Remove from tin and leave to cool completely before removing all the paper. If you don’t let it cool completely some of the cake may stick to the paper.
9. When cool, and frequently until you ice the cake, spike the cake with a skewer and pour 4 tablespoons of brandy into the cake. Repeat fortnightly until Christmas. Wrap the cake in foil and store in a tin.