Cara’s Christmas Cake

6 October 2022 0 Comments

Serves 16, preperation time 12½ hours, baking time 4½ hours


450g currants
175g sultanas
50g halved glacé cherries
50g mixed chopped candied peel
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
100ml brandy, plus extra for feeding
225g plain flour
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
225g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 dessert spoon black treacle
225g butter
50g almonds (skin on)

For the icing

3 tablespoons apricot jam
675g marzipan
675g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
3 egg whites
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1½ teaspoons glycerine

Christmas Cake


1.  Zest the lemon and the orange. Mix all the dried fruits with the lemon and orange zest and 100ml of brandy. Cover the bowl and leave to soak for a minimum of 12 hours. When you’re ready to make the cake, re-heat the oven to 140℃, grease a 20cm cake tin and roughly chop the almonds.

2.  Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, treacle and butter and beat with an electric hand whisk until smooth and fluffy. Gradually fold the soak fruit mixture and chopped almonds into the batter.

3. Spoon the mixture into your cake tin, levelling the surface with the back of the spoon. Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4-4½ hours, until it feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check after 2 hours and if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

4.  When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and feed it up to tablespoons of brandy. Then wrap it in parchment-lined foil and store in a cool, airtight container for up to 3 months. Feed it with more brandy roughly every two weeks until you are ready to ice it.

5.  To cover the cake, warm the apricot jam and brush it over the top and sides of the cake. Liberally dust a work surface with icing sugar, and roll out the marzipan to about 5cm larger than the surface of your cake. Keep moving the marzipan as you roll, to ensure it doesn’t stick.

6.  Use a rolling pin to lift the marzipan carefully over the cake. Smooth the top and then ease it down the sides. Trim any excess with a sharp knife. Cover loosely and leave to dry out for a few days before icing.

7.  For the royal icing, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Sift in the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time. Use an electric whisk, keep the speed low. Stir in the lemon juice and glycerine and beat until it is very stiff and white and stands up in peaks. Cover tightly and keep in a cool place until needed.

8. Place all the icing on top of the cake and spread it evenly over the top and sides with a palette knife. For a snow-peak effect, use a smaller knife to rough it up. Cover loosely and leave to harden overnight.

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