Christmas Cakes are the one type of cake you can make well in advance and know they will remain moist and delicious right up to Christmas Day and beyond. The secret to a good cake is quality ingredients. The recipe doesn't have to be long winded and complicated. Some delicious dried fruits, decent plonk and lots of love can create a wonderful cake in next to no time.
500g of mixed fruit (the best you can afford)
500g Sultanas (as above)
500g Raisins (you get the hint!)
100ml good sherry
a pinch of saffron
200g light muscovado sugar
300g plain white flour
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line a 20cm tin. Mix the fruit together in large bowl.
- Heat the sherry and saffron in a pan then pour over the fruit.
- Beat together the softened butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Mix in the fruit.
- Spoon into the tin and press down leaving a dip in the middle.
Using several layers of brown paper, wrap it around the tin and tie with string. Place more paper under the tin. This will ensure it cooks slowly and doesn't burn around the edges before cooking in the middle.
Cook for 3-4 hours until cooked all the way through.
- Using shop bought marzipan or royal icing, roll it out until it is the the desired thickness and enough to completely cover the cake including the sides.
- Brush the underside with brandy to help it stick and to give a good flavour.
- Fix to the cake using a rolling pin to help transfer it.
- If using marzipan you will want to add another layer of fondant/royal icing over top of that.
- Use your hands to smooth the icing out and trim any excess.
- Use any left over icing to make holly leaves and berrys. Royal icing can be coloured with food colouring to get the right shades. Simply knead it until the colour is uniform.
- Stick the leaves on with egg white and add a bit of sparkle with silver balls.
Slice the cake into squares and give away to friends and family. You might want to make the mix into several small cakes, but you will need to experiment with cooking times to avoid over cooking the cakes.Finally sit back and enjoy – oh and don't let the kids eat too much. That sherry and brandy is for adults only!