Desserts/Treats

Traditional British Christmas Cake

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Christmas cake is a British tradition in many homes, and I wanted to share my version today.

British Christmas Cake
British Christmas Fruit Cake

Christmas Cake For The Holiday Season

I love biting into a rich piece of Christmas Cake or mincemeat pie with tea during the Christmas holidays to finish my day.

My dad loves his Christmas cake, also known as a fruit cake, and it just so happens that my sister makes them for Christmas.

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 or make it as expensive, depending on the quality and type of ingredients you buy.

With the addition of nuts and alcohol, you can easily see a price difference in the cake had you left those ingredients out.

Christmas Fruit Cake

What is a Christmas Cake, also known as Fruit Cake?

A Christmas Cake is a popular seasonal tradition made in Britain and Scotland.

The Christmas cake can take many forms, such as light or dark.

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 make a mini Christmas cake 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 leaves and berries to decorate the top of my cake.

My Mum’s Festive Christmas Cake Recipe

This year I am attempting my mum’s Christmas Cake recipe in hopes that it turns out just as delicious as I remember it.

Christmas Cake ingredients such as the deep-flavoured spices and the cherries are all festive flavours of the holidays.

Anyone who has baked a Christmas Fruit Cake knows they make the house smell wonderful.

Adding Alcohol To A Fruit Cake

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 lasts 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 those festive flavours.

The one pro with Christmas Cake is that it is easy to store and doesn’t need to be frozen. 

If the cake is placed in an air-tight container, it will keep for around six months.

I know hard to believe, but it’s true.

Wedding Bells and Christmas Cake

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 three years, as it’s traditional.

I used that cake for my first son’s christening cake, which was a hit.

We re-iced the fruit cake, and it was so good that the plate was empty at the end of the evening.

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 about how much alcohol went into it to keep it fresh.

Alcohol In Christmas Fruit Cake

Mr.CBB told me his mum also makes a traditional Christmas Cake filled with nuts and fruit every year.

His mom adds as much liquor as the cake will soak up and typically does a clean-out of the alcohol cabinet.

Alongside the Christmas Fruit Cake, he has fond memories of his mum making Christmas pudding, another tradition back home.

So, don’t be afraid to tackle making the cake, as it’s time-sensitive more than anything.

How to make a Christmas Cake

How To Make Christmas Fruit Cake

Scroll to the bottom for the printable version

  • Author: Nicola Don
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Total time: 4 hours 20 mins
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Oven temps – 160oC/325oF first hour, 140oF/275oF second hour, then cover with greaseproof paper for a further 11/2 to 2hrs until a skewer comes out clean.

If you are a fruit cake lover, this easy recipe will make the top ten list of things to bake every holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1/3 cup chopped Glace cherries
  • 1/3 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

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160oC/325oF
  2. Grease a deep round 8-inch cake tin and line it with a double layer of greaseproof paper
  3. 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, so it doesn’t separate.
  4. Sift the remaining flour with the salt and spices and fold it into the mixture with the ground almonds.
  5. Stir in the dried fruit, cherries, mixed peel, lemon rind, juice, and almonds.
  6. Mix all the ingredients well until they are thoroughly combined.
  7. Put the mixture in the cake tin, smoothing the top and then slightly hollowing the center.
  8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and then for a further hour at 140oC/275oF.
  9. After that hour, cover the cake with greaseproof paper and bake it in the oven for 1 1/2 – 2hrs. The cake is fully baked when a skewer pushed into the center comes out clean, and the cake is firm to the touch.
  10. Leave the cake to cook, then prick the bottom with a fork and gently pour the brandy over the cake. The cake will absorb this and make it moist.
  11. Cover the cake straight away or leave it in a sealed container until ready to use.
  12. My mum made her cakes at least a month ahead and topped them with alcohol every week to make them rich and moist. This cake does not need freezing.
  13. To top the cake with marzipan, take it out two weeks before Christmas and cover it with marzipan. Leave it for a few days to dry, then cover the cake with royal icing. I usually miss out on the marzipan and cover it with royal icing.
Yield: 8 -10

Traditional British Christmas Cake

British Christmas Cake

A traditional British Christmas Cake filled with fruit and nuts topped with marzipan and royal icing.

Prep Time: 29 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 29 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1/3 cup chopped Glace cherries
  • 1/3 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

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160oC/325oF
  2. Grease a deep round 8-inch cake tin and line it with a double layer of greaseproof paper
  3. 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, so it doesn’t separate.
  4. Sift the remaining flour with the salt and spices and fold it into the mixture with the ground almonds.
  5. Stir in the dried fruit, cherries, mixed peel, lemon rind, juice, and almonds.
  6. Mix all the ingredients well until they are thoroughly combined.
  7. Put the mixture in the cake tin, smoothing the top and then slightly hollowing the center.
  8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and then for a further hour at 140oC/275oF.
  9. After that hour, cover the cake with greaseproof paper and bake it in the oven for 1 1/2 – 2hrs.
  10. The cake is fully baked when a skewer pushed into the center comes out clean, and the cake is firm to the touch.
  11. Leave the cake to cook, then prick the bottom with a fork and gently pour the brandy over the cake. The cake will absorb this and make it moist.
  12. Cover the cake straight away or leave it in a sealed container until ready to use.
  13. My mum made her cakes at least a month ahead and topped them with alcohol every week to make them rich and moist. This cake does not need freezing.
  14. To top the cake with marzipan, take it out two weeks before Christmas and cover it with marzipan.
  15. Leave it for a few days to dry, then cover the cake with royal icing. I usually miss out on the marzipan and cover it with royal icing.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

My mum made her cakes at least a month ahead and topped them with alcohol every week to make them rich and moist.

This festive holiday cake does not need freezing.

To top the cake with marzipan, take it out two weeks before Christmas.

Cover the cake with marzipan and leave it for a couple of days to dry, then cover the cake with royal icing.

I usually miss out on the marzipan and cover it with royal icing, but the choice is up to you.

Enjoy this rich fruit cake, and let us all see the beautiful pictures if you make it.

Nicky

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