Classic Christmas cake | How to cook perfect Christmas cake
As the very first real cake I ever baked, Christmas cake occupies a special place in my heart.
The tradition of baking, gifting, and eating plum cakes around Christmas is an old one. Making a Christmas fruitcake at home is easy, to say nothing of rewarding. Such fruitcakes contain their characteristic booze-soaked fruits and nuts, which can be customised in dozens of ways.
I always like to make this Fruit Cake. I just love the combination of nuts and dried and candied fruits with barely enough cake batter to hold it all together. If you have ever made a British Fruit Cake you know that what really sets this cake apart is how we repeatedly ‘feed’ (brush) the cake with alcohol over several weeks. This gives the Fruit Cake a subtle alcohol flavor and a moist texture, plus it also acts as a preservative so the cake can be stored for ages and ages. Of course, the step of repeatedly brushing the cake with alcohol means we have to make it well in advance of Christmas. But is that so bad? With all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, doing our baking several weeks in advance can only be a good thing.
Lets start Preparing
- Chop dates, apricots, ginger, and orange peels into 1 cm chunks.
- Put the chopped dates, apricots, ginger, and orange peels along with the raisins, and the tutti frutti into an airtight glass jar.
- Pour 180 ml of dark rum (we are using Old Monk), or brandy, or whiskey or a mixture into the jar over the fruits. For non alcholic version soak the fruits in fruit juice.
- Shut the jar and leave it in a cool, dark place for 20 days. Give the jar a mild shake every couple of days.
PREPARING THE TIN:
- Butter the inside of the tin, making sure to get into all the corners.
- Line the tin with sheets of baking paper.
- Optionally, wrap a cake strip to the outside of the tin for added protection. You can easily make a cake strip at home as follows:
- Measure the circumference and height of your tin.
- Cut a sheet of newspaper about 4–5 times as wide as the height of your tin and long enough to wrap around it.
- Keep folding the newspaper into a strip as wide as the height of the tin.
- Wet this strip with water, squeezing out any excess.
- Cover the whole strip in aluminium foil.
- Wrap it around the tin and secure it with a piece of wet cotton twine.
This cake bakes at a low temperature of 150°C. In a deep and narrow loaf tin like the one we’re using here, it takes around 3.5 hours. If you try to bake this cake faster by raising the temperature, the outside will brown while the inside remains pale and undercooked. Having said that, keep in mind that every oven is different. Be sure to check on your cake after the first 2 hours in the oven.
Classic Christmas cake | How to cook perfect Christmas cake | Traditional Christmas Cake
- 2 Cups ( 275 grams All Purpose Flour
- 1.4 Cups (275 grams ) Butter Softened
- 2 Cups (275 grams ) Brown Sugar
- 5 Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Pistachio chopped
- 1/4 Cup Cashew chopped
- 1/2 Cup Almonds
- Zest of One Orange be careful not to grate the white
- 1 pc Cinnamon
- 8 Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg shavings
- 3 Cups Soaked dried fruits
- Prepare the tin as explained above and set your oven to preheat at 150°C.
- Grind the cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg to a fine powder. Also grind up the almonds separately. Set these aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until it is airy and pale. Add in the brown sugar and cream again.
- Now whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
- Add ground almonds, spice mix and orange zest. Mix Well.
- No whisk or beater after this point.
- Sift flour and mix it with spatula. Add all the nuts and soaked fruits also. Mix well.
- Spoon the batter into your prepared cake tin, pushing it into all the corners and leveling the top. Tap out any trapped air bubbles.
- Place it in the preheated oven and bake for 3.5 hours, checking on it regularly after the first 2 hours.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the tin.
- Feed the cake: This step is optional. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer. ‘Feed’ a spoon of rum, brandy, or whisky through the holes. You can do this once a week for as long as you want, until you are ready to cut the cake. Store it at room temperature wrapped in baking paper and aluminium foil.
Merry Christmas !!
Cooking with lots of love and straight from the heart.
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