Classic Christmas cake made easy
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- FOR THE NUT AND DRIED FRUIT MIXTURE
- 100g Billington’s Dark Muscovado Natural Unrefined Cane Sugar
- 100g Billington’s Light Muscovado Natural Unrefined Cane Sugar
- 100g Asda Chopped Mixed Nuts
- 200g glacé cherries
- 200g raisins
- 100g Whitworths Crystallised Fiery Ginger
- 100g mixed peel
- 100g dates, stoned and roughly chopped
- 150ml apple juice (or use sherry, rum or brandy, if preferred)
- 175g unsalted butter
- 2tbsp black treacle
- FOR THE CAKE MIXTURE
- 150g Allinson’s Plain White Flour
- 50g Allinson’s Self-raising White Flour
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 1tsp cinnamon
- ½tsp ground ginger
- ½tsp ground cloves
- ½tsp ground nutmeg
- 100g ground almonds
- 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- TO DECORATE
- Icing sugar, to dust (optional); or apricot jam, icing sugar, marzipan and ready-to-roll white icing, to cover (optional)
- YOU MAY ALSO NEED
- Large star-shaped, or other festive stencil (optional)
Preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2. Grease a 20cm cake tin, then line with 2 layers of baking paper.
Put all the ingredients for the nut and dried fruit mixture into a large pan. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugars dissolve and the butter has melted. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Put the plain and self-raising flours, spices and ground almonds into a large bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs, followed by the fruit and nut mixture.
Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spoon.
Bake in the oven for 2 hrs, or until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre (if necessary, cook for a further 10-15 mins).
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely in the tin.
Once cooled, remove the cake from the tin and place onto a large plate or cake stand. Alternatively, wrap in baking paper, followed by a layer of foil, and store in a cool, dry place until ready to serve.
If you are baking your cake in advance, ‘feed’ it once a week with 1tbsp of apple juice or your chosen tipple. Open the tin, unwrap the cake and pierce holes in the top 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 return to the cool, dry place to store.
If decorating the cake on Christmas Day, simply place a star-shaped or similarly festive stencil in the centre of the top of the cake, dust with icing sugar, then serve. Alternatively, cover with marzipan and icing 1-7 days ahead of serving for a traditional look.