Christmas Baking

Christmas is fast approaching and what better way to start off by baking a Christmas Fruit Cake! I think there’s a bit of a misconception that Fruit Cake is one for the oldies (and I must say that on any usual day I would also be in agreement) but at Christmas there is nothing that I enjoy more then making a Christmas Cake. You could say that it has become somewhat of a tradition in my family, one that was first started by my mum and handed down to me. My recipe is one that differs slightly from the traditional Fruit Cake but i’m sure you’ll agree it’s just as delicious (if not more!)

Preferably you’ll need to start around 3 weeks before you want to eat it (if you can resist the temptation) so what better time then now! I usually make two cakes because my dad really struggles with the concept of not being allowed to cut it open until Christmas Day but its completely up to you as to what you’d like to do. For a more kid-friendly version substitute the alcohol with orange juice. 

What I used:

4 cups of mixed dried fruit

1 cup of glace cherries

1/3 cup of rum or quantro (or any other orange flavoured liquor you’d like)

250g butter (unsalted)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2tsp vanilla essence

4 eggs

100g Dark chocolate

2tbsp apricot jam

2 cups plain flour

2tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp mixed spice

125g slivered almonds

Round spring-form cake tin (23cm deep)

What I did:

The day before: Cut the glace cherries in half and combine with the dried fruit. Add your alcohol (or orange juice) and stir well. Cover and soak your mixed fruit overnight for best results (min. 1 hour if you forget to do this part).

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line your baking tin with baking paper so that it doesn’t stick. I cut out two circles to cover the base and longer strips to go around the edges. Make short cuts along the edge pieces so that it sits in snuggly and spray the tin with canola oil spray to get it to stay in place. It should look like this

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Cream butter, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer until its light and creamy looking and then add your eggs, one at a time. Make sure you beat well in between each one. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate and jam together until its smooth and silky. Beat this into the butter/sugar mixture on a low speed.

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Sift into this your flour, cinnamon and mixed spice. Add the almonds and stir to combine. Finally, add your dried fruit mix and stir well. Ensure that everything is mixed really well together.

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Spoon your mixture into the prepared pan like so

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Bake for 95mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly. This can take a while as the cake is very deep. Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing. And now you wait….ok kidding! Before you do that, wrap the cake tightly in foil and store in an airtight container in a cool place in your house (not the fridge). Keep it here until your ready to cut it open and trust me you won’t be dissapointed. The flavours will all have had a good amount of time to combine and intensify beautifully.

When serving, I like to cut star shapes out of melted white chocolate (melt the chocolate and spread thinly on baking paper. Leave to set. Use a cookie cutter to pop out the shapes and place over the top of the cake) and or wrap some nice ribbon around the edge. But again, it’s completely up to you!

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This is the one that I made last year for Christmas and trust me, it was well worth waiting for!!

Hope you enjoy! What Christmas treats do you like to bake for family and friends during the festive season??

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