I had really grand plans for my Christmas Cake this year, involving penguins... But, my arm is just not up to the task, so I had to simplify somewhat and finally came up with this design. I drew out my design, made a stencil out of paper and then used my brand new Dinkydoodle Airbrush to get the design on the cake. I was very pleased with the result, even if I did get a bit of bleeding in a few places - practise will make perfect though!
Now, I have a fussy lot to make fruit cakes for - no nuts (allergies), no peel (because its gross), not too many currants, lots of cherries, no marzipan, and most importantly NO ALCOHOL. So I have come up with my own recipe that caters for all these requests.
I usually bake this cake about a week before serving, so there is just enough time still to bake one for Christmas Day!
Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe
1.2 kg Raisins
400g Glace Cherries
300g Chopped Dates
2 cups Boiling Water
Zest of 2 Lemons
700g Plain Flour
600g Butter (room temperature)
600g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
2.5 tsp Cinnamon
1.5 tsp Mixed Spice
Cut all the glace cherries in half or quarters (nice to have some of each). Mix all the fruit together, in a very large bowl, and soak in the boiling water for a few hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the lemon zest.
Turn oven on to 150ºC. Grease and fully line the cake tin/s with baking paper.
Wrap tin/s with old tea towels or newspaper (optional).
Sieve the flour and spices together in a separate bowl (forgot to take a picture, sorry!)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl down occasionally.
Add the eggs, one at a time, while beating at medium speed.
Turn speed down to low and add the flour mix gradually until it is almost all incorporated into the batter.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix the batter by hand, scraping down the sides until the mix is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for • 5 hours for 12” Cake
• 3 hours for 9” Cakes
Allow to cool completely in the tin, then remove, leaving baking paper on, and wrap well in tinfoil until ready to decorate. Cake can be moistened by poking holes in the top with a toothpick and poring a few tablespoons of apple or grape juice over the cake the day before you decorate it.
I baked a smaller loaf cake so that I could cut into it and show you what the inside looks like - this one hasn't had any juice added to it.
To decorate the cake, I brush it liberally with warm, runny smooth apricot jam, then cover it with fondant. You can, of course, add marzipan before the fondant, but my lot don't like it.
Click on the recipe below to download the PDF version.