Classic Christmas Cake

Makes a 20cm round or 18cm square cake.

Ingredients

  • 125g glacé cherries, halved
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 200g currants
  • 200g sultanas
  • 200g raisins
  • 75g candied peel, chopped
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 150ml sherry, brandy, rum or brewed tea
  • Zest and juice of 4 clementines
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g light soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts
  • Apricot jam, sieved
  • Ready to Roll Marzipan
  • Ready to Roll White Icing

Instructions

  1. Place the dried fruit, alcohol or tea, zest and juice into a large bowl. Mix well, cover and leave overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. Butter and double-line a deep cake tin with enough baking parchment to extend about 3cm over the top of the tin.
  3. Wrap the outside of the tin with a few sheets of brown paper, secure with string.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add the flour and mixed spice, soaked fruit and any liquid and the nuts. Mix together then transfer the mix to the cake tin.
  6. Using a spoon, make a slight dent in the centre of the surface then bake for 90 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 140°C/275°F.
  7. Loosely cover the top of the tin with foil or baking parchment and bake for another 45─60 minutes until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin then remove and wrap in baking parchment.
  8. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Every couple of weeks, feed your cake with a syringe, or by piercing with a skewer and sprinkling over a little more alcohol or tea.
  9. To decorate, warm a little sieved apricot jam and brush it over the cake before topping with Ready to Roll Marzipan and then Ready to Roll White Icing.