I’m dedicating this week to traditional Christmas recipes and I thought that since I regularly post recipes from other people books and blogs it was about time I posted another of mine. This is another family recipe courtesy of my maternal Grandmother. I never had the chance to eat this as made by my Nana but I have been eating this every year courtesy of my Mum. You are supposed to make this cake as early as possible and the original recipe says it should be baked as early as September. Unfortunately in our house things tend to get on top of us and we don’t normally manage it till the start of December. Last year due to our delayed kitchen redecoration we couldn’t actually make the cake until a couple of days before the big day, this year we a manged to get it done by the 12th. It is a very traditional cake, which, after it has matured for 3 months (or much less in our case), is covered with almond paste and then with royal icing. I’m writing this before that has been done so ill update the post this weekend one its been finished. The quantities in the picture may seem larger than expected because we doubled the recipe and made 1 large and 2 small cakes from it and even had enough batter for a small loaf.
Nana’s Christmas Cake
8oz / 226g Margarine
8oz / 226g Granulated Sugar (or caster or light brown)
5 Large Eggs
8oz /226g Plain Flour
4oz / 113g Ground Almonds
Pinch of Salt
1.5 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1.5 Tsp Mixed Spice
8oz / 226g Sultanas
8oz / 226g Raisins
8oz / 226g Currants
4oz / 113g Mixed Candied Peel
4oz / 113g Glace Cherries
(or the equivalent weight in a bought mixed fruit mix that includes the above)
Zest of 1 Lemon
Zest of 1 Orange
4 Tblsp Brandy
1. The night before take all the fruit, zest and brandy and mix together in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight to soak.
2. The following day grease and triple line a deep 25cm cake tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 150 C.
3. Place the margarine and sugar in your mixer bowl and cream until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Sieve the flour, ground almonds, spices and salt into a large bowl and mix with a whisk to combine.
4. One at a time add the eggs beating well after each addition. To prevent the batter from curdling keep the eggs at room temperature and only beat in one at a time. A tip from my mum is to add about a dessert spoonful of the flour mixture in between each egg.
5. Once the eggs are beaten in and the batter is smooth turn the mixer to a low/medium speed and start adding the flour mixture. Don’t over beat the mixture at this stage working the batter just until the flour is completely incorporated.
6. Take the bowl of the mixer and using a rubber spatula or large metal spoon fold in the fruit (Mum added an extra healthy glug of brandy to the fruit just before this). Add the cake batter to you prepared tin and level with you spatula.
7. Bake at 150C for about half an hour until the top of your cake has domed slightly and has taken on a little colour. Reduce the temperature to 100C and cook for around 2 more hours (possible up to a total of 3) if at any point you are worried about the cake taking on too much colour cover the cake with some parchment or even some foil. The cake is done when a cake tester or wooden toothpick come out with just a few moist crumbs.
8. Let the cake cool completely in the tin before turning out. Wrap in parchment or baking paper and leave in a cake tin as long as you can, to mature before you cover with almond paste and icing.