Last Christmas I went a bit radical with my Christmas cake and made a Gluten Free Clementine Cake and while it was amazing and had such lovely festive flavours, this year I was feeling a little more old fashioned and decided to make an old family recipe and make a more traditional Christmas cake. A rich fruit cake topped with a marzipan and icing layer and decorated in a festive style.
Any fruit cake starts with a good mix of fruit and a few nuts, I used a combination of raisins, currents, sultanas, cherries, mixed candied cities peel, cherries and chopped mixed nuts. And I soaked it all in a healthy dose of Brandy 😉 For a more detailed post on prepping and soaking your fruit then please read my previous post on it.
Giving it all a good soaking!
Now I may have soaked my fruit for months but you can get away with only soaking it overnight if time is running out for you. And you don’t need to use brandy if you are wanting an alcohol free cake. Fresh orange juice makes a wonderful substitute for fattening up your fruit.
Boiling, Creaming, Melting……
There seems to be 101 different ways to make Christmas cake, my families recipe calls for the creaming method, which I love because it really is the easiest 😀 and we all love easy when it comes to our baking. Lets face it we are all busy with work, family and trying to run a household!
You just need to cream the butter and sugar together till it is light and fluffy, add the eggs, fold in the ground almonds and flour then mix in your pre soaked fruit. Pop the mixture in a pan and bake! Simple!
There are no hard and fast rules stating you have to use marzipan. I just wanted to as I was going for a more traditional feel. I’ll also let you into a little secret…… I used shop bought marzipan 😉 If you are wanting a smother top to your cake then you can always shave a very thin layer off the top but I am not that fussy and it looks more ‘rustic’ with a few lumps and bumps on top!
Icing… Royal, Fondant, Glace
Traditionally Royal icing is used on a Christmas cake, but it is far too time consuming and it wasn’t really the look I wanted to go for, so I broke with tradition and used fondant icing instead!
And again between you and me it was shop bought 😉 Time is everything people! So as the image above shows you now have a plain Christmas cake to decorate as you wish. Go crazy and cover it with lots of plastic Santa’s and silver balls or just tie a lovely festive ribbon around it and you are good to go.
I was really struggling with how to decorate my cake, going for something classy or fun or just totally mental making it look like a Christmas tree had exploded all over it. In the end inspiration was given to me via a pin on Pinterest and I couldn’t resit basing my cake on it as it was so cute!Those robins were just so cute and I could’t resist adding a happy snowman to the scene as well.
It may not be a super Christmasy design but it’s definitely Wintery enough for me 🙂
But feel free and go to town 😀
The Cake…… At last!
Because I made my cake quite a bit in advance I fed my cake a few times with a few tablespoons of brandy, but this is not necessary as the cake itself is moist. And if you are using orange juice to plump your fruit then no feeding is needed.
The thing I love about this recipe is the cake is not super dark and heavy, which at times is lovely but I like my Christmas cake a little lighter.
Fruity and sweet this is a lovely light fruit cake for Christmas.
How do you like to decorate your Christmas cake? What kind of icing do you use? I’d love to know 😀
Traditional Christmas Cake
- 225 grams sultanas (regular or golden or a mix, (1 and 1/2 cups))
- 225 grams raisins ((1 and 1/2 cups))
- 225 grams currants ((1 and 1/2 cups))
- 60 grams glace cherries - quartered ((11 whole cherries))
- 60 grams citrus mixed peel ((1/3 cup lightly packed))
- 60 grams chopped mixed nuts ((1/2 cup))
- 240 millilitres brandy or orange juice ((1 cup))
- 230 grams softened unsalted butter ((2 sticks))
- 230 grams dark brown sugar ((1 and 1/2 cups))
- 4 large eggs - at room temperature
- 55 grams ground almonds ((1/2 cup))
- 225 grams Plain flour (All Purpose, (1 and 3/4 cups))
- 3-4 tablespoons seedless jam (jelly warmed up)
- 400 grams marzipan ((14 ounces))
- 450 grams fondant icing ((15 ounces))
- Weigh and measure out your sultanas, raisins, currents, glace cherries, citrus mixed peel and chopped mixed nuts into a large mixing bowl and pour in the brandy or orange juice give everything a good mixing and leave for a minimum of 2 hours preferably at least overnight, stirring every now and again.
- Pre heat your oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4. And lightly grease an 8 to 9 inch pan then line it with baking parchment.
- Cream your butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy and very well combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time beating between each one.
- Add in the ground almonds and flour and fold in gently.
- Add in the fruit and any juice that may be left and fold it into the cake batter.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and make a slight dip in the middle to help you get a flatter topped cake. Pop the cake into your pre heated oven.
- Depending on the speed of your oven this cake will take anything between 1 hour and 40 minutes to 3 hours. Check the cake at the 1 hour 40 minute mark. In my oven this cake was ready bang on the 2 hour mark.
- Once a skewer comes out of the centre of the cake clean take it out of the oven and allow it to sit in its tin for 20 minutes.
- Once that time is up take your cake out of the tin and allow it to fully cool down on a wire rack.
- Then decorate the cake as you wish, if you are using marzipan you need to prep your cake surface, by using a couple of tablespoons of seedless jam (jelly) gently warmed up and brushed across the surface so the marzipan can stick. Once you have rolled out the marzipan and placed it on your cake leave it a few hours before you add the icing layer.
- As with the marzipan roll out your icing, and lightly dampen your marzipan with water to help the icing stick to it, then place it on your cake and gently press it down to help it stick. Now its time to go mad and decorate it as you please! Have fun...