After a year of uncertainty, staying in and limited time with loved ones and family members, we're all looking forward to the festive season. Christmas is all about drinks by the fire, fantastic roast dinners and, of course, Christmas, pudding! With Christmas fast approaching, you’re going to want to start on that scrumptious dessert soon. Everyone knows, the longer a Christmas cake has to brew in all those delicious ingredients, the better. Here is the ultimate guide to making your Christmas cake, for anyone who wants to make this Christmas extra special at the end of a very challenging 2020!
The Ultimate Christmas Cake Recipe
Like any dish, a Christmas cake should be a personal creation. Made with your loving touch, the Christmas cake will make dessert more special and inevitably delicious! You can decide which flavours you want to come through in the dish, so choose your spices, liquor and fruit to suit your taste! This guide
- 1kg mixed dried fruit (make sure the mix contains raisins, glace cherries, currants and prunes or figs)
- Zest of 1 orange
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 300ml brandy (you can also use sherry, rum, or whisky)
- 250g butter slightly softened
- 250g muscovado sugar (light or dark - the choice is yours!)
- 4 large eggs
- 175g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp mixed spice (we recommend ground ginger, cinnamon, grated nutmeg and cloves)
- 100g blanched and flaked almonds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a large pan, mix the dried fruit, orange zest, lemon zest, 150ml of the brandy, slightly softened butter, and muscovado sugar.
- Set the pan on medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, tip the mix into another large bowl and leave it to cool for half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 150C, or 130c with fan assist. For gas ovens, use setting 2.
- Line a 20cm tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking paper.
- For extra flavour and stick-proofing, grease the paper with butter.
- In the same bowl as the cooling fruit mixture, add in the plain flour, almonds, baking powder, mixed spice, eggs and vanilla extract.
- Stir the mixture well to ensure there are no air pockets or lumps of flour.
- Add the whole mix to the prepared cake tin. Use a spatula to get all the mixture out of the bowl.
- Put the tin in the oven for 2 hours.
- Remove the cake from the oven.
- After 10 mins of resting, use a skewer to poke small holes into the cake.
- Pour the remainder of your chosen brandy over the cake and leave it to stand until the cake has completely cooled down.
- Remove the baking paper.
- Store the cake a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Every two weeks, drizzle 1-2 tbsp of your selected brandy over the cake to ensure it keeps until you can finally cover and ice it!
Covering and Icing
Covering the cake in another fruity glaze is a vital part of the Christmas cake process, this truly is a labour of love and Christmas spirit. The coating should be added to the cake about a week before Christmas Day, allowing more fruity goodness to soak into the cake before your guests tuck in!
Ingredients for the Covering
- 3 tbsp apricot jam (or peach jam or marmalade)
- Enough icing sugar for dusting
- 675g marzipan
- Wait until a week before Christmas Day to start the covering.
- On a cake board or clean surface, turn the cake upside down so that the flat side is facing up.
- Warm the sieved jam in a saucepan on low heat.
- Brush the sides and top of the cake with the jam, making sure it covers the entire surface of the cake.
- Dust a clean surface with the icing sugar.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the marzipan to about 5cm larger than the whole surface of the cake. In other words, the marzipan should be big enough to cover the surface of the cake entirely.
- Lift the marzipan carefully over the cake using the same rolling pin.
- Smooth the marzipan over the cake, making sure there are no creases in the covering. The best way to do this is to start from the top and work your way down the sides of the cake.
- Trim any excess off with a sharp knife by neatly cutting around the base of the cake.
- Cover the cake with baking paper and leave to dry until you ice it.
The icing is the classic best-for-last ingredient that appears on the ultimate Christmas cake. You will only have to ice and decorate your cake on the day of serving. We’ve gone with a lemon glaze, drippy icing, but feel free to play around with other flavours. Another popular icing is royal icing, which requires glycerine. These simple steps will give you the best covering and icing for your festive showstopper.
Ingredients for the Icing
- 210 g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp plain yoghurt
- In a bowl, whisk the ingredients together until smooth.
- Test the thickness on the side of the bowl. You can gradually add yoghurt if the icing is too thick.
- Place your cake onto a baking rack, or something that will allow the icing to drip through without accumulating at the base.
- Pour the glaze into the middle of the cake. Gently spread it towards the perimeter so that it drips down the sides.
- Allow the icing to settle for 1 hour before putting it onto the final serving platter.
- Serve and enjoy!
Christmas Dessert is Served!
And just like that, Christmas day is here, and your spectacular Christmas cake is ready for serving! It's also always fun to decorate your cake with fun figures or extra dried fruits and nuts. Holly and other festive plants also make for great garnishes - not to be eaten of course. With this recipe and all the love you put in, you’re bound to have a Christmas to remember and a cake that will leave your guests talking about it for years to come!