Briony Williams’ simple Christmas cake
- 350g raisins
- 250g currants
- 250g dried cranberries
- 50g glacé cherries
- 100g mixed peel
- 175ml sherry (vegan, if preferred) or cold, strong tea (no milk)
- 250g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- Zest 1 orange
- Zest 1 lemon
- 50g flaked almonds
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 4 medium eggs, beaten
- 300g plain flour
- 1tbsp ground ginger
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- ½tsp allspice
- Sherry (vegan, if preferred), spiced rum or cold tea, to feed the cake
At least 1 day (but no more than 7 days) before you start to make the cake, put the dried fruits, cherries and mixed peel in a large bowl. Add the sherry or tea, cover and leave to soak.
When ready to make the cake, preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/ Gas 2. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed springform cake tin with butter, then line the base and sides with at least 2 layers of baking paper.
Mix the soaked fruits, butter, citrus zests, flaked almonds and muscovado sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs and mix again. Stir in the flour and spices. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 3 hrs-3 hrs 30 mins, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.
Wrap the cake in baking paper, put in a lidded tin or airtight container and then store in a cool, dark place.
Each week, open the tin, unwrap the cake and ‘feed’ with 1-2tbsp sherry, rum or cold tea. Start by piercing holes with a skewer to help the liquid infuse. Drizzle over the liquid and give it a moment to soak it in. Rewrap, replace the lid and keep cool.
A few days before Christmas, it’s time to decorate the cake. Use royal or ready-to-roll icing for a traditional finish, then add festive touches, such as star-shaped biscuits (see below) or Christmas trees, cut out of icing. Embellish with white piping icing and glitter spray or silver balls.