This super easy homemade Christmas cake recipe takes all the worry out of making the annual Big Cake and makes it fun. Especially as it contains chocolate!
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 your own homemade Christmas cake that’s just a tad different – my cake has a chocolate chili kick!
Christmas has well and truly landed!
So Easy Christmas
This recipe for my super easy homemade 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!
History of Christmas cake
Well, this great British fruitcake was actually a merger of two cakes. The plum pottage/porridge was eaten on Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night Cake.
Put them together and you end up with a rich dense fruitcake that for centuries has been covered with marzipan and royal icing.
Basically, if you look at the British Christmas traditions you’ll see we are steeped in dried fruit. What with Christmas pudding, mince pies and Christmas cake. If you don’t like dried fruit you might as well leave the country.
In Scotland, Dundee cake is often served up at Christmas. It is again a rich fruit cake but instead of marzipan and icing, the top of the cake is studded with almonds. Check out my recipe for Dundee Cake.
When to make Christmas cake
Traditionally made 2-3 months before Christmas to allow the cake to age and mature and let the flavours develop. This is also the time for you to feed the Christmas cake with booze. The more the merrier and all that!
Feeding a Christmas cake
By this I mean feeding it with booze. yummy! If you have the cake ready 12 weeks in advance of Christmas then feed it with hooch every week for a perfectly boozy fruit cake.
Stir Up Sunday (the last Sunday before Advent) was when Christmas cakes were traditionally made. Nowadays this date is more associated with stirring up your Christmas pudding but it was originally for the cake.
In Victorian times it was considered unlucky to cut your Christmas cake before dawn on Christmas Eve.
How to make Christmas cake
Keep calm, it looks like a huge complicated recipe but it’s now. The ingredient list looks intimidating but a lot of that is spices and just different types of dried fruit.
There is booze involved here so if it all gets too much just keep pouring yourself another glass and the whole situation will feel so much merrier.
Day 1. Start easy. Al you have to do today is chop some of the bigger fruits and soak it all in booze.
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, after all 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!
Now you are going to bring everything together. Just follow the list of instructions. Make sure that you prepare the tin properly with wrapping it in paper etc, I’ve outlined all this for you so no excuses!
Follow the instructions on mixing your fruits, sieving dried ingredients etc. You will find that creaming the butter is a wonderful exercise for the upper arms, you can almost feel those Bingo Wings tightening up as your stir – really go for it!
Add all the other ingredients and then spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 3 hours altogether.
How long will Christmas cake last?
A nice fruit cake like this will keep for up to 3 months if well wrapped in foil/cling film and in an airtight tin. You can freeze Christmas cake too for up to 3 months.
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!
Looking for more Christmas baking? Then check out these recipes before you go;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Super Easy Homemade Christmas Cake With Chocolate And Chilli
- 125 g self raising flour
- 200 g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg freshly ground nutmeg is best
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 250 g soft dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp black treacle
- 5 eggs
- 25 ml medium dry sherry
- 25 ml brandy
- 100 g dark chili chocolate
- 250 g chopped dates
- 750 g dried mixed fruit
- 75 g cut mixed peel
- 75 g dried apricots
- 75 g glace cherries
- 1 lemon zest only
- 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
- Day 2. Preheat oven 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Add the lemon zest.
- Chop up the chocolate either by bashing with a rolling pin or by blitzing in your food processor and add to the cake batter
- 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 and bake 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.
- Check if the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean the cake is ready. Allow to cool before removing from tin and cooling completely on wire rack.
- pierce top of cake with skewer all over and drizzle over brandy. Do this every week.
- wrap cake in baking parchment and foil and feed till you are ready to ice it
- Just before Christmas once cake is well and truy stuffed with booze add a layer of marzipan and then the traditional royal icing