Hello Rudolph! This is my Christmas cake. It’s only the second year I’ve made a Christmas cake. Last year was the first and I’ve played safe by sticking with the same cake recipe as it worked so well. It was just what I wanted from a rich fruit cake – moist, fruity and just a bit gooey from all that dried fruit. If that’s how you like your Christmas cake then look no further.
Most Christmas cakes are fortified with sherry, rum or some other rather strong spirit. The only alcohol in this cake is cider. You may think that’s a bit unusual for a Christmas cake but it goes perfectly with all the dried fruit. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say it goes perfectly as you can’t actually taste it, but the cake is good and if the cake is good then all that goes into it must be good too.
Actually I hope this cake is good. I haven’t properly tasted it yet, not the cooked cake anyway. Eating the cake has to wait until Christmas, but I’m posting it now because if I wait to eat it and then blog, everyone will be so full up of their own Christmas cakes no-one will want to read about mine.
As I said at the start, this is the second time I’ve made this Christmas cake. It was so good last year and I’m confident it will be this year too. After all, I’ve stuck to the same recipe, with just one or two small changes. Maybe next year I’ll try the hard alcohol route but for now I’m sticking with what I know.
The recipe is slightly adapted from Step-by-Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton.
150g dried apricots
200g glace cherries
2 dessert apples, peeled and diced
4 tsp mixed spice
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g soft dark brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g ground almonds
280g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp jam (I used raspberry)
500g royal icing sugar
Tubes of designer icing (black/brown, red, green, yellow and blue)
How to Make My Christmas Cake
1. Put all the dried fruit, mixed spice and cider in a large saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Leave in the pan overnight and the fruit will absorb the rest of the liquid.
2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
3. Put the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Use an electric whisk if possible. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
4. Fold in the fruit and the ground almonds. Sift in the flour and baking powder and then fold in too.
5. Put the cake batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven at 160C for 2.5 hours. Test the cake with skewer and if it comes out with sticky batter still on it then return it to the oven. My cake needed 3 hours.
6. Let the cake cool a little in the tin and then turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
7. If you want to keep the cake for a while before eating it then wrap it up well in foil and keep it in an airtight container. You can keep it for up to 8 weeks.
8. When you are ready to decorate the cake, put the jam in a small bowl and heat in the microwave or a small saucepan until runny. Brush it over the cake.
9. Roll out the marzipan and cover the cake with it.
10. Make the royal icing according to the pack instructions. I just needed to whisk mine with a little water. When it begins to form stiff peaks then spread it over the cake with a palette knife. I chose a rough snow effect for the top by tapping the palette knife up and down on the icing. I smoothed the sides carefully with the knife so I could draw on them
11. I used the designer icing to draw reindeer and Christmas trees on the sides of the cake but of course you could draw anything you wanted.
I am linking this to Alphabakes, hosted by Caroline Makes and on alternate months by The More Than Occasional Baker. The letter this month is X. It is also linked to the Christmas Foodie Friday link on Casa Costello and Romanian Mum. I am also linking to Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Tinned Tomatoes and to Love Cake December Delights, hosted by Jibberjabber UK. Finally I am linking to Festive Family Foodies hosted by Banger and Mash and on alternate months by Eat your Veg.