Read on for my recipe for so easy Christmas cake
Yes it’s gotta be done, Christmas Cake is a must have tradition (at least up here on Walton’s Mountain) and this is my easiest recipe for making one that is just a tad different – my cake has a chocolate chili kick!
Christmas has well and truly landed!
My latest book
This recipe for my So Easy Christmas cake comes from my latest book So Easy Christmas. The book is packed full of all sorts of fun ideas for Christmas, from making your own cards and advent sack to a full Christmas lunch, foodie gifts for Christmas, how to handle house guests and even edible prezzies for your pets!
I have a confession for you here. As soon as this final photo of the cake was taken our pet ferret Harry snuck up and took a bite out of the icing. Now I wish I’d taken a snap of that!
Easy Christmas Cake
- 125g self raising flour
- 200g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2tsp ground nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
- 1/2tsp powdered ginger
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g soft dark brown sugar
- 2bbs black treacle
- 5 eggs
- 25ml medium dry sherry
- 25ml brandy
- 100g dark chili chocolate
- 750g dried mixed fruit
- 250g chopped dates
- 75g cut mixed peel
- 75g dried apricots
- 75g glace cherries
- zest of 1 lemon
- This is a 2-Day process. So start nice and gently on day one by chopping up the fruit. Dates, cherries, apricots etc things like that all need to be chopped up a bit.
- Toss them into a bowl and pour over the sherry.
- Add the chopped mixed peel and give it all a good stir.
- For my main mixed fruit I used a bag of Tesco Luxury Dried Mixed Fruit that boasts that requires no soaking. I am a big beleiver in the benefits of booze in cooking, so I lob in some brandy anyway.
- That’s it for tonight, you can now congratulate yourself on a job well done and feel that you are really embracing Christmas. Well done you. Pour yourself a glass of sherry and marvel at it’s warming properties. Hmmmmm really ought to make use of it more often, afterall Sherry Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas!
- Day 2.
- Deal with the hangover created by your sherry binge last night and let’s get on with this cake!
- Switch on the oven and set to 140C/Gas 1.
- The first thing to do is to line a 23cm cake tin (mine has a removable base) with a double layer of baking parchment. Now melt up some butter and grease that baby well. Use a pastry brush and get the butter right into every area so the cake won’t stick.
- Now while you’re still in the mood for paper crafting take a big piece of brown wrapping paper and fold in half to get a double layer. Wrap this around the outside of the lined cake tin so that it sticks up at least 5cm above the top of the tin. Tie it securely with string. This is to insulate the cake and stop it from burning in the oven, and it will also stop overspill.
- Measure out all your flours, salt and all spices into a bowl and set aside.
- In another big bowl soften your butter. Do not chuck it in the microwave and turn it into a separated slop, just soften it and break up with your wooden spoon.
- Add your soft brown sugar and start creaming this into the butter. This is a wonderful excersice for the upper arms, you can almost feel those Bingo Wings tightening up as your stir – really go for it!
- Et Voila! Better than getting all sweaty at the gym and you didn’t even have to leave the house or wear lycra! Consider your butter/sugar combo now mixed and your body a temple of fitness!
- You are now going to add 2 teaspoons of treacle to the bowl. A good way to ensure that the treacle leaves the spoon and doesn’t stay welded to it, is to rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the spoon first, the treacle will then drip and gloop off nicely. Do not go wild, a tiny bit of olive oil is all you need. This tip also works a charm with honey etc.
- Break your 5 eggs into a bowl or jug.
- Give them a jolly good whisk to get them all light and fluffy.
- Pour your gorgeously golden fluffy eggs into the seriously sweet butter mixture you’ve just been working on.
- Get stirring. It will look a gloopy mess but just keep stirring.
- Remember that bowl you set aside ages ago, the one with all the flours and salt and spices in it? Well now’s your chance to find it and press it into service.
- Sieve the dry ingredients into the bowl a little at a time and beat in as you go along.
- Tip your fruit a bit at a time into the batter mixture and keep stirring as you go.
- Woohoo it is now begining to look like a cake mix!
- Grate in your lemon zest (just the coloured skin not the bitter white pith). If this isn’t an unwaxed lemon (they charge more for those in the shops) then give it a good scrub first with hot soapy water and rinth thoroughly and dry well before grating off the zest.
- Now search out that lovely luscious bar of dark chili chocolate that you bought specially for this cake and probably ate along with the sherry last night. If you didn’t scoff the goodies and choccie still there then you are either a paragon of virtue or not that keen on dark chocolate anyway.
- Chop up the chocolate either by bashing with a rolling pin or by blitzing in your food processor.
- I gave up and blitzed mine so lost the nice shiny look, however it was far quicker and I got lots of little pieces and less chance of me eating it all before it got into the bowl. Just add this to the cake mix and really stir it in.
- That’s it, the last ingredients are now in there, your cake mix is complete.
- Spoon it into the prepared tin and give it a good bang on the table to release air and get it to settle, smooth as much as possible on the top.
- Put it into the middle of your oven. Yes I know, mine looks like some sort of cave. This is an Aga and it’s meant to look like that. You will want to leave it for 2 hours and then check how it’s doing. If the top is browning too quickly then just add a double sheet of baking parchment on top to protect it from burning and pop it back in again.
- Bake for approximately 3 hours altogether. You will know when it is ready when a skewar inserted into the middle comes out clean and it springs back nicely to the touch.
- Leave it to cool before turning out on to a wire rack.
- Do not panic if it is a big overblown and browned on top as mine is. This is not a panic situation, just one that requires the deft handling of a bread knife (no, no, not on yourself in a fit of temper thinking you’ve ruined the cake!) to slice off the top and then simply tiurn it over so you have the totally smooth base as your working area.
- Crisis averted, cake inverted and all is well with the world!
- Now pour a drink. For the cake, not you! Pierce all over the top with a fine skewer and dribble a little brandy over it so it sinks into the holes and flavours and moistens the cake on the inside. Do this once a week.
- Wrap your cake in foil and pop it into a cake tin and remember to feed it Brandy every week.
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