It's time to bake that Christmas cake!
How to bake a Christmas cake
- 1kg mixed dried fruit (we like to use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, and prunes)
- zest and juice 2 oranges
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- 150ml brandy (you can swap this for sherry or rum if you prefer - remember to have some ready for feeding too!)
- 250g softened, unsalted butter
- 200g (9oz) light muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 175g plain flour
- 75g (3oz) self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 100g flaked almond
- 100g ground almonds
- 4 large eggs
- Put all the dried fruit, zests and juice, brandy, butter, treacle and sugar in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, once boiling lower the heat and simmer for a further 5 mins.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool
- Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
- Line a deep 20cm cake tin with baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure. The newspaper prevents the outside of the cake from scorching before the inside has cooked.
- Add all the other ingredients into your bowl and mix together well. Transfer to your cake tin and bake for 2 hrs - check a skewer comes out clean before removing your cake.
- once your cake is done remove from the oven and poke holes in it all over - carefully drizzle with 3 tbsp of brandy (or whichever alcohol you prefer), then leave to cool.
- When your cake is fully cool you can store it by removing the baking parchment and wrapping in clingfilm. Make sure you wrap it well so no air can get in. Feed the cake once a fortnight with 1-2 tbsp of alcohol to keep it moist.
- Should you choose to ice your cake hold off feeding it for about 1week before to allow the surface of the cake to dry.