The festive season is fast approaching and 2020 has been a difficult year for us all, it is essential we celebrate the end with fervor and cheer. Nothing lifts the spirit and soul more than some delicious homemade sweets such as Christmas cake. Let yourself feel the cheer and bring out the baker in you with our amazing and easy Christmas cake recipe. Let’s get baking!
Whether you are an amateur cook or a professional baker, our recipe is guaranteed to make your family and loved ones lick their fingertips!
This fruit cake is incredibly easy to make, with a rich, velvety texture that’s full-flavored and so moist it can be eaten plain. You can always add a dollop of cream or custard to make it sinful. The subtle flavor and texture are due to the hint of citrus and the moist texture is just what you need in a cake without excessive frosting or cream. You will need soaked fruit for the cake. The fruit is soaked in either apple juice OR a combination of apple juice and brandy (for those who like boozy Christmas Cake). Use any fruit (about 855g), store-bought or home-dried, pre-cut fruit such as raisins, apricots, dates, and glace cherries. Chopping or drying your own fruit will give it extra moistness and reduce the amount of sugar or preservatives in your cake. Another important ingredient is mixed peel. Found in most stores, it is a mix of dried, crystallized, or sugared lemon and orange peel. Please don’t use fresh orange or lemon peel as it will completely overpower the taste and you will find it too bitter or strong.
For the batter, you will need brown sugar, dark or light. The sugar will add the color so you can make it dark or light depending on the sugar you use. Molasses, golden syrup, walnuts, pecan nuts, or any nuts of choice, oil, and butter are the final ingredients that make this delicacy taste perfect and amazing.
Now, most recipes call for soaking the fruit overnight in juice or brandy. You can do that or if you are short on time then you can microwave the dried fruit with juice or brandy and soak it for an hour. Quick, effective, and can be done last minute as well. The actual cake baking is slow because the texture needs to be dense and moist and firm. You can use decorations like fondant, glaze, cream, frosting, or fruits to brighten your cake or serve it simply and let the flavors speak for themselves.
FAST SOAKED FRUIT:
- ▢300g / 10 oz raisins
- ▢150g / 5 oz diced dried apricots , chopped 8 mm / 1/3″
- ▢75g / 2.5 oz mixed peel , diced 5mm / 1/5
- ▢150g / 5 oz glace cherries , chopped 8 mm / 1/3″
- ▢180g / 6 oz dates , diced 5mm / 1/5″
- ▢1 cup + 2 tbsp (280 ml) apple juice, OR 1/3 brandy + 2/3 juice
- ▢115g / 8 tbsp butter, unsalted (1 US stick)
- ▢1 1/2 cups (330g) dark brown sugar, packed
- ▢1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil (or canola, peanut, grapeseed)
- ▢3 tbsp molasses or golden syrup
- ▢1/2 tsp salt
- ▢1/2 tsp allspice
- ▢1/2 tsp cinnamon
- ▢1/2 nutmeg
- ▢3 eggs
- ▢1/2 tsp baking powder
- ▢1 2/3 cup (250g) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- ▢3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
FOR SERVING (OPTIONAL)
- ▢500ml / 1 pint pouring custard , homemade or store bought
WHITE CHRISTMAS CAKE DECORATION (OPTIONAL)
- ▢250g / 8 oz “ready to roll” marzipan
- ▢250g / 8 oz “ready to roll” white fondant
- ▢Cherries dusted with icing sugar
OTHER DECORATING OPTIONS (OPTIONAL)
- ▢Cherries or other fruit dusted with icing sugar
- Place dried fruit and juice/brandy in a large microwavable container. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes on high or until hot.
- Stir to coat all fruit in liquid. Cover then set aside for 1 hour (to plump up/soak and cool).
- Preheat oven to 160°C / 320°F (140°C fan). Grease and line a 21 – 22 cm / 8 – 9″ round cake pan with baking paper (parchment paper) (7 cm / 2.75″ tall).
- Using an electric beater, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute on speed 5).
- Add oil and molasses, beat until combined.
- Add salt, spices, and baking powder – beat until incorporated.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated
- Stir in the flour.
- When mostly incorporated, stir in the fruit mix (including all the extra liquid in the bowl) and walnuts (if using).
- Pour into cake pan, cover with foil and bake for 3 hours 15 minutes, removing foil the last 45 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean with no batter on it.
- Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.
- The cake is moist and so full-flavored, it can be eaten plain. You can decorate it as you desire or leave it as it is with a few fruits or cream on the side.