How to cook a hassle-free Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake 


Ingredients

 

  • 6 tablespoons of liquid - for example a mixture of orange and cranberry juice or brandy or another spirit
  • 900g dried fancy fruits like apricots, dates figs, prunes, cherries, dried blueberries
  • 500g of your choice of dried vine fruits like blackcurrants, raisins, sultanas or cranberries - lots of different colours are great
  • The zest and juice of a large orange and a lemon
  • 350g soft butter
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 5 large free-range eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 150g shelled and roughly chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 350g plain flour

 

Method

1. The night before you bake your cake, warm your liquid by simmering in a small pan (do not boil it), then pour it over all of your dried fruit and zest in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and leave to cool and soak overnight - your fruit will be juicy and plump in the morning - perfect for baking.

"Don't feel you need to feed your cake with alcohol - by pre-soaking the fruit and choosing lighter and more flavoursome fruits, there's no need to add extra the booze" says Jamie Oliver

2. On the day, pre-heat your oven to 160°C/325°F. Combine your soft butter with the sugar in a food mixer. Cream until a light fluffy mixture forms.

3. Crack in the eggs one at a time, with a little spoonful of the almonds each time to stop the mixture curdling. Once combined, add in the flour, baking powder and the remainder of the ground almonds, plus the nuts, and mix until just combined. Then add in the pre-soaked fruit. and mix well. Pour the mixture into your cake tin until it's 3/4 full and ensure the top of the mix is flat, so you get a nice evenly-topped cake.

4. Bake for one hour, then turn the cake around, reduce the temperature to 150ºC/300ºF and bake for another hour.

5. Leave the cake to cool inside the tin so that it keeps its shape, and when ready to serve, either dust a little bit of icing sugar on the top, or cover in marzipan and decorate however you like best! 

Christmas cakes keep really well, so early December is perfect for baking!

 

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