Thursday, 15 December 2011

Seasons Greetings! Rich fruit cake

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you've left it until to now to make your cake, you may well be starting to panic. Well, fear not. Whilst this fruit cake (like most) does taste richer and fuller over time, there's enough content in there that even if you only make it a couple of weeks in advance, it's still going to taste pretty delicious.

This recipe will make a generously sized Christmas cake (9" across, and 4" deep).

260g currants
250g sultanas
250g raisins
200g glace cherries, rinsed and halved
185g dried apricots, roughly chopped
125g dried figs, roughly chopped
100g mixed peel
75g dried cranberries, rinsed
3 tblsp creme de cacao
2 tblsp brandy
300g plain flour
300g butter
300g dark muscovado sugar
5 eggs
1 tblsp treacle
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ginger
3 or 4 cloves, ground
1/2 tsp nutmeg
60g almonds, roughly chopped
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon

1. Soak all of the fruit and peel in the alcohol for a minimum of 6 hours, and preferably overnight.

2. Double-line and double-grease a 9" round springform tin.

3. Beat together all of the other ingredients, add the fruit and any liquid and mix in.

4. Turn into the tin, level off the top and cover with baking paper.

5. Bake at 140 degrees celcius, for about 4 hours.

6. Once the cake is cooked, leave to cool in the tin. When cool, prick four or five times with a skewer and 'feed' with 2 tblsp brandy. Once this has soaked in, re-cover and keep in a cool, dry place. Feed the cake periodically, depending on how much time you have left (once every week-fortnight if you have a couple of months, or twice per week if you only have a couple of weeks).

To decorate:

You will need to start this at least 3-4 days before the cake is needed. Firstly, you need to secure your cake to an appropriate cake board, securing it with a good dollop of royal icing.

1. Roll out 500-550g of marzipan, on a surface lightly dusted with sieved icing sugar.

2. Add a dash of boiled water to a tblsp of apricot jam on a medium heat, until it starts to melt. Cover the cake in the melted jam, then use the rolling pin to lift the marzipan over the cake. Smooth down over the cake and trim to fit. Leave the cake for a couple of days so that the marzipan can dry out a little before icing.

3. Roll out 500-550g of ready-to-roll icing on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Make sure you knead it for at least five mintues beforehand, until the texture becomes easily workable, like playdough. If you don't knead it enough, then the final result will crack.

4. Coat the marzipan in a little warm water, then use the rolling pin to lift the icing over the cake. Smooth down over the cake and trim to fit.

5. Pipe around the bottom of the cake with royal icing. Decorate with ready-made decorations, or make your own using more ready-to roll icing, securing with water or with royal icing for a stronger bond. Here are some of my creations:

You can really let your imagination do the talking with your decorations - hopefully some of these ideas will give you inspiration. These delicious cakes make wonderful Christmas gift - to present them, just sit each cake on a large piece of cellophane, gather the cellophane up at the top and secure with a festive ribbon. It will keep your cake covered and airtight until Christmas, and just visible enough to add to the festive vibe in the run up to the big day. I'm sure from these photos you can guess what my family and friends will be receiving as gifts this year.....


  1. My, you have been a busy girl! These look wonderful, and what gorgeous presents :-) Can't believe I've only just seen your blog after all this time - will add it to my subscriptions! xx

  2. Thanks very much for your comment! We have already given some of the cakes to their intended recipients and they seemed genuinely thrilled... although it's a lot of work, it's definitely worth it! xxx

  3. DEATH to the BORINGLY decorated Christmas cake, how amzing they look xxx