Easy Christmas Cake

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Christmas cake, a beacon of festive cheer, epitomizes the holiday spirit. This rich, fruit-laden treat is not just a dessert; it’s a cherished tradition. Originating from holiday rituals, Christmas cake has evolved into a must-have in festive feasts. Laden with dried fruits, nuts, and often soaked in spirited liquors, it’s a symbol of celebration and joy.

What’s the Best Time to Begin Baking a Christmas Cake?

Did you know? Starting your Christmas cake preparations early can make a significant difference! Ideally, November is the perfect time to embark on this baking journey. This lead time allows the flavors to blend and mature, resulting in a cake that’s rich in taste and tradition. It’s not just about baking; it’s about infusing the cake with love and anticipation for the festive season.

How to Simplify the Christmas Cake Making Process?

Think making a Christmas cake is complex? Think again! A simplified process involves boiling ingredients like butter, sugar, dried fruits, and spices, then adding eggs and flour. This method ensures a moist, flavorful cake without the fuss of traditional methods like fruit soaking or creaming butter and sugar. It’s all about ease and enjoyment in the kitchen.

Is Feeding the Cake with Alcohol Essential?

To feed or not to feed with alcohol, that’s a question many ponder. Feeding the cake with spirits like brandy or rum enhances its richness and preserves it longer. However, for those preferring a non-alcoholic version, alternatives like cold tea or fruit juices are great options. Remember, it’s about personalizing the cake to your taste preferences.

What Type of Alcohol Complements a Christmas Cake?

Selecting the right alcohol for your Christmas cake can elevate its flavor profile. Spirits like whisky, rum, or brandy, known for their warm notes, are traditional choices. But why not experiment with cherry brandy or amaretto for a unique twist? These spirits add a delightful sweetness and depth to the cake.

Can I Make a Non-Alcoholic Christmas Cake?

Absolutely! For a non-alcoholic version, replace the liquor with cold tea, fresh orange or apple juice. This variation still ensures a moist and flavorful cake, suitable for all ages and preferences. It’s about making the Christmas cake inclusive and enjoyable for everyone.

Christmas cake is more than just a holiday dessert; it’s a canvas for creativity and a reflection of personal tastes. Whether you go traditional with alcohol or opt for a non-alcoholic version, the essence of Christmas cake lies in its ability to bring people together, wrapped in the warmth of holiday traditions.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter: 175 g (¾ cup), chopped
  • Light Brown Muscovado Sugar: 210 g (1 packed cup)
  • Mixed Dried Fruit: 400 g (2 ⅔ cups)
  • Glacé Cherries: 200 g (1 cup), roughly chopped
  • Dried Cranberries: 100 g (1 cup)
  • Orange: Zest and juice of 1
  • Lemon: Zest of 1
  • Cherry Brandy: 120 ml (½ cup), plus additional for feeding
  • Ground Almonds: 85 g (½ cup), coarsely ground
  • Eggs: 3 large, lightly whisked
  • Plain (All-Purpose) Flour: 200 g (1 ⅔ cup)
  • Baking Powder: ½ tsp
  • Ground Mixed Spice: 1 tsp
  • Ground Cinnamon: 1 tsp
  • Ground Allspice: ¼ tsp

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Fruit Mixture: In a large saucepan, combine unsalted butter, muscovado sugar, mixed dried fruit, glacé cherries, dried cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange juice, and 120 ml of cherry brandy. Heat over medium until it gently bubbles. Then, simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let it cool for 30 minutes off the heat.
  2. Oven Setup: Preheat your oven to 150°C/300°F (fan). Line a 20 cm spring-form round cake tin with baking parchment, ensuring the sides extend about 2 inches above the tin.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients: To the cooled fruit mixture, add ground almonds and whisked eggs. Mix well. Then, gently fold in flour, baking powder, ground mixed spice, cinnamon, and allspice until just combined.
  4. Bake the Cake: Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, smoothing the top. Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/275°F (fan) and continue baking for 1 to 1½ hours. The cake should be dark brown, and a skewer inserted should come out clean. Cover with foil if it browns too quickly.
  5. Finishing Touches: While hot, pierce the cake with a skewer and evenly pour 4 tbsp of cherry brandy over it. Allow the cake to cool in the tin, then wrap in double layers of baking parchment and foil. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  6. Feeding the Cake: Once a week, feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp of cherry brandy, stopping a few days before you plan to marzipan and ice it.

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