I’m still undecided about whether to make one this year or not. Don’t get me wrong I love it (maybe a little too much).

Basic Christmas Cake
For as long as I can remember there’s always been an iced fruit cake around at Christmas. When I still lived with my parents I would be called to the kitchen while my mum prepared the mixture. Each member of the family got to give it a stir and make a wish. I suspect she was just tired from stirring such a weight of sodden fruit but it’s a good memory nonetheless.

There were years when I wasn’t too bothered by the cake itself but instead bought a ready made cake as a base for my own weird and wonderful decorations (post plastic Santa Claus and Christmas trees, of course).

As my interest in eating all that rich fruit and sugar dwindles (especially as these are in abundance in mince pies and Christmas pudding anyway!) I’m left wondering, is it worth it? It certainly has a tendency to divide households over the festive season. There are those who have a slice but would really much rather have the last minute shop bought yule log and those who pick at it because they would really rather it was left un-marzipaned and un-iced. All of which leaves me eating the leftovers for the next few months.

There are of course plenty of alternatives; panettone, yule log, stollen, gingerbread house. But even thinking about it while writing is swaying me towards making…maybe just a little one…

Different sized cake tins
It is rather delicious and definitely a treat when the cupboards are bare, post festivities.

If you have decided to take the plunge and make your own now is the time to do it. It may seem on the early side to begin the preparations but trust me you are going to want to feed that cake some brandy between now and then. Not only does it preserve the cake (just in case you forget about it until next September) but it also enriches the glorious fruit and spice flavours.

I’ve adapted this recipe from May Clee-Cadman’s book Sweet and Simple Party Cakes for a few years and it’s not gone wrong yet. So set aside a weekend, find your bottle of brandy, stick on some Christmas tunes and get ready for Christmas. Stay tuned next month for part 2 of our Christmas Cake making recipe!

Christmas Cake
A delicious rich fruit cake perfect for Christmas
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  1. 375g sultanas
  2. 375g raisins
  3. 250g currants
  4. 100g glace cherries, chopped
  5. 50g mixed peel
  6. 2 oranges (zest and peel)
  7. 275g softened butter
  8. 275g light brown soft sugar
  9. 5 eggs
  10. 275g plain flour
  11. 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  12. 1 ½ teaspoons mixed spice
  13. 12 tablespoons Brandy
  1. Place all the fruit in a bowl with the orange juice, zest and half the brandy.
  2. Leave to soak overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150c.
  4. Line an 18cm round tin with greaseproof paper. Then wrap newspaper around the outside too.
  5. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  6. Then add the eggs one by one. (if the mixture starts to curdle add a little bit of flour to bring it back).
  7. Add the flour and spices.
  8. Stir in the fruit.
  9. Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
  10. Bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 3 hours.
  11. Cool the cake in the tin.
  12. Before wrapping the cake in cling film spear the cake with a skewer and then spoon the rest of the brandy over making sure it goes into all the holes.
  13. Store in an airtight tin adding to the brandy occasionally as and when you fancy.
  1. You could use any variation of dried fruit (cranberries, apricots) to the mix.
Adapted from May Clee-Cadman, Sweet and Simple Party Cakes
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