If you are like me during the Christmas holidays there’s nothing better than sinking my teeth into a rich piece of Christmas Cake or mincemeat pie with a cuppa tea to finish the day off.
My dad loves his Christmas cake also known as a fruit cake and it just so happens that my sister makes them for Christmas as well.
Like me she does some baking on the side with December and January being the busiest time of year.
You can make this recipe as frugal as you like it or make it as expensive depending on the quality and type of ingredients that you buy.
Obviously with the addition of nuts and alcohol you can easily see a price difference in the cake had you of left those ingredients out.
What is a Christmas Cake?
A Christmas Cake is a popular seasonal tradition made in Britain and Scotland. The Christmas cake can take on many forms such as a light or dark cake.
The shape of the Christmas cake can be round, oblong and even rectangular and you can choose to add alcohol or leave it out.
Some people make a mini Christmas Cake as well to package up for friends and family as homemade edible gifts. The Christmas Cake is alcohol soaked in the Scottish tradition and topped with icing, glaze, marzipan or left plain.
You may also see the fruit cake decorated with leaves or fir trees to celebrate the holiday season. Today I’ve added leaf and berries to decorate the top of my Christmas Cake.
This year I am attempting my mums Christmas Cake recipe in hopes that it turns out just as delicious as I remember it.
The Christmas Cake ingredients such as the deep flavoured spices and the cherries are all festive flavours of the holidays and make the house smell wonderful.
If you want to keep your Christmas cake rich and moist don’t forget to layer the alcohol. Alcohol will ensure your cake doesn’t get dry and helps keep it longer although it rarely last a couple of days in our house.
The one pitfall of the Christmas Cake is the time it takes to bake in the oven. It takes a long while as it needs to be baked slowly to enhance all of those festive flavours.
The one pro with a Christmas Cake is that they are easy to store as they don’t need to be frozen. As long as the Christmas Cake is placed in an air-tight container it will keep for around six months. I know hard to believe but it’s true.
When my husband and I got married the top-tier of our wedding cake was a Christmas Cake filled with fruits and nuts. Surprisingly it kept fresh and moist for 3 years then, as it’s traditional. I used that same Christmas Cake for my first sons christening cake.
We just re-iced the fruit cake and it was so good. Sometimes I think the longer it sits the richer it gets as the flavours have time to unfold and come together like a fine wine. I hate to think how much alcohol went into it to keep it so fresh.
Mr.CBB told me that his mum makes a traditional Christmas Cake filled with nuts and fruit every year as well. His mom adds as much liquor as the cake will soak up and normally does a clean-out of the alcohol cabinet so they can re-stock for the new year.
Along-side the Christmas Cake he has fond memories of his mum making Christmas pudding another tradition from back home.
So, don’t be afraid to tackle making the Christmas Cake like some people are as it’s more time-sensitive more than anything.
How to make Christmas Cake filled with fruit and nuts
- Prep Time 20 minutes
- Cook Time 4hrs
- Oven temps – 160oC/325oF first hour , 140oF/275oF second hour then cover with grease proof paper for a further 11/2 to 2hrs until skewer comes out clean
- 1-1/4 cups butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1-1/4 cups plain flour sifted
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- 1-1/2 cups currants
- 1-1/2 cups seedless raisins
- 1-1/2 cups golden sultanas
- ⅓ cup chopped Glace cherries
- ⅓ cup mixed peel chopped
- grated rind and juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon blanched and finely chopped almonds
- 6 tablespoons brandy
- 1-1/2 lbs marzipan
- 1-1/2 lbs royal icing
- Pre-heat the oven to 160oC/325oF
- Grease a deep round 8 inch cake tin and line it with a double layer of greaseproof paper
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl, beating in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each one so it doesn't separate out.
- Sift the remaining flour with the salt and spices and fold into the mixture with the ground almonds.
- Stir in the dried fruit, cherries, mixed peel, lemon rind and the juice and the almonds.
- Mix all the ingredients well until they are thoroughly combined.
- Put the mixture in the cake tin, smoothing the top and then slightly hollow the center.
- Bake in the oven for 1hour and then for a further hour at 140oC/275oF.
- After that hour cover cake with greaseproof paper and bake it in the oven for a further 1½ - 2hrs.The cake is fully baked when a skewer pushed into the center comes out clean and the cake is firm to touch.
- Leave cake to cook completely then prick the bottom with a fork and gently pour the brandy over the cake. The cake will absorb this and make it moist.
- Cover the cake straight away or leave it in a sealed container until ready to use.
- My mum made her cakes at least a month ahead and topped up the cake with alcohol every week as to make it really rich and moist. This cake does not need freezing.
- To top the cake with marzipan take it out two weeks before Christmas and cover with marzipan leave it for a couple of days to dry then cover the cake with royal icing. I usually miss out the marzipan and just cover with the royal icing.
My mum made her cakes at least a month ahead and topped up the cake with alcohol every week as to make it really rich and moist. This cake does not need freezing.
To top the cake with marzipan take it out two weeks before Christmas and cover with marzipan leave it for a couple of days to dry then cover the cake with royal icing. I usually miss out the marzipan and just cover with the royal icing but the choice is up to you.
Enjoy this rich fruit cake and if you make it let us all see the beautiful pictures.
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