I first posted this recipe a couple of years back and have just revamped to the new format, including a photo of it cooking (will update with finished picture as soon as I have a chance to take one!)
Some people do not especially enjoy Christmas cake, but me… well, I love it. But all Christmas cakes are not created equal. Everyone has different ideas of what makes the perfect cake: the ratio of fruit to cake, the depth of colour and flavour, whether or not it includes nuts, is adorned with sparkling glaced cherries and blanched almonds in a decorative fashion or is wrapped in marzipan and fondant. So many variations.
This recipe right here is my idea of perfection when it comes to eating cake at Christmas time. It is moist, contains the perfect amount of fruit and can be tailored to your personal tastes. Myself, I like a few nuts scattered here and there, un-iced, unadorned – plain.
I inherited this recipe from a friend of a friend of a friend. A version of this cake was gifted to my family one Christmas day and I just had to track down the recipe as it ticked all my boxes. And now, I’m sharing it with you. I think because it has been passed on, you can trust that it is a goodie. It has been the cake I’ve made the past five years and it is the cake I will make until my baking days are through.
Now, I just have to hold off cutting into it until closer to the big day!
- 1.2kg fruit mix
- 1/2 C mixed roughly chopped nuts (omit if not wanted)
- 1/4 C chopped crystallised ginger (omit if not wanted)
- 2 C brown sugar
- 2 C water
- 250g butter
- 1 t mixed spice
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 T golden syrup
- 3 eggs
- 2 T Sherry or Brandy
- 1 t each lemon, almond & vanilla essences
- 3 C plain flour
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 t baking powder
- Combine the fruit, water, sugar, butter, spice, baking soda and syrup in a large pot. Set over medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.
- Cool, stirring occasionally.
- When cool, add the well beaten eggs, sherry and essences. Mix well.
- Fold in the sifted flour, baking powder and salt.
- Grease and double line a 23cm square tin with baking paper. Press cherries, walnuts, almonds etc on top of batter if desired.
- Bake at 160 degrees Celsius, in a rack placed in the centre of the oven for 2-3 hours or until an inserted skewer in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cover the top of the cake with baking paper if it is browning too much.
- When it has cooked, remove tin from oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Remove from the tin and cool completely on the rack.
- Once completely cool, store in a cake tin or airtight container for at least 2 weeks.
- I like to make my Christmas cake at least 2 weeks in advance from cutting time. I find the flavours and fruit just meld together so beautifully during this waiting period.