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Christmas cakes take 25 minutes to prepare and just over two hours to cook, but they’ll need to be made a while in advance and fed with alcohol over time. A lot of love goes into a Christmas cake, so it can take weeks before it’s perfect.
When should you start making your Christmas cake?
Christmas cakes can be made up to three months in advance depending on the recipe you use, as long as they’re kept in a tin.
Alternatively, you can make it even earlier, freeze it, and defrost it when it’s time to feed it.
The cake needs to be fed every fortnight for up to two months.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use tea instead for a delicious alternative.
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How to make a Christmas Cake (BBC Good Food recipe):
- 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
- zest and juice 1 orange
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- 150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
- 250g pack butter, softened
- 200g light soft brown sugar
- 175g plain flour
- 100g ground almond
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 100g flaked almonds
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of one orange and one lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins.
Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
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Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol.
Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film.
Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it.
Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
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