How to Make & Mature Christmas Cake. Make & Mature Christmas Cake. Bake this festive fruit cake in advance of Christmas and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist.
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 2 hrs and 10 mins Plus cooling
Cuts into 12-15 slices
1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
zest and juice 1 orange
zest and juice 1 lemon
150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
250g pack butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
100g ground almond
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
100g flaked almonds
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.
Get ahead for Christmas by baking this cake on Stir-up Sunday. It’s the last Sunday before Advent, the traditional start of the Christmas season.
FEEDING YOUR CAKE
If you notice your cake is going dark in the oven too early on and you’re worried about it burning on the top, cover it with some foil or baking parchment. Feed your cake every fortnight for up to 2 months. If you prefer not to use alcohol, try tea instead.
CAN YOU SOAK THE CAKE WITHOUT ALCOHOL?
Yes, you can use tea, fruit juice or a flavoured syrup, but it won’t have the same effect as alcohol so don’t overdo it or your cake will be soggy.
WHAT SPICES DO YOU PUT IN A CHRISTMAS CAKE?
Christmas cakes generally include mixed spice and a blend of allspice, cinnamon and cloves. These are warming, aromatic spices that go well with the fruit but shouldn’t have a big impact on the flavour.
HOW LONG DOES A CHRISTMAS CAKE LAST?
Christmas cakes to be kept in a tin can be made up to 3 months in advance depending on the recipe you use, OR you can make it many more months ahead, freeze it and defrost it when you are ready to ‘feed’ it or ice it. You can make your cake on Stir-up Sunday on the last weekend in November, but some people consider this too late.
source – bbcgoodfood.com