Quick Christmas cake

Quick Christmas cake
  • Serves icon Makes 2 cakes, each serving 8
  • Time icon Takes 30 minutes to make, 1½- 1¾ hours to cook, plus cooling

Christmas cakes usually take about three hours to cook, but our quick Christmas cake recipe is ready in half the time – perfect for a last-minute fix, or if you’re on multiple cake-making duty this year.

Simply decorate as you like, or see our guide for 10 ways to decorate a Christmas cake.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
687kcals
Fat
18.7g (7.7g saturated)
Protein
7.9g
Carbohydrates
125g (104g sugars)
Salt
0.5g
Calories
687kcals
Fat
18.7g (7.7g saturated)
Protein
7.9g
Carbohydrates
125g (104g sugars)
Salt
0.5g

Ingredients

  • 600g good-quality mixed dried fruits
  • 150ml whisky, warmed
  • 150g stem ginger, drained, plus 8 tbsp ginger syrup from the jar
  • 200g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Finely grated zest of 2 small oranges and 2 lemons
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 150g whole glacé cherries

To decorate…

  • 4 tbsp shredless orange marmalade
  • 500g white marzipan
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • 500g white fondant icing

Method

  1. Put the dried fruits in a bowl and pour over the whisky. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the fruit to plump up.
  2. Briefly blend the ginger and its syrup in a mini food processor until finely chopped. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except the cherries. Beat with a hand-held electric whisk for 2 minutes until pale and fluffy. Fold in the soaked dried fruits and any whisky, the whizzed ginger and the cherries.
  4. Spoon into the tin and level off. Bake for 1½-1¾ hours until firm and golden brown. Cover loosely with foil after 1 hour if it is darkening too much. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To decorate, remove a thin slice from all sides of the cake and discard. Cut the cake in half to make 2 rectangles. In a small pan over a low heat, warm the marmalade with 2 tbsp of water. Keep warm. Knead half the marzipan until smooth, then roll out, on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, into a
    22cm x 20cm rectangle. Trim the edges. Brush the top and the 2 long sides of one cake with half the warm marmalade mix, then lay the marzipan over the cake and press it on firmly.
  6. Repeat with the second cake and remaining marzipan. Cover the cakes with the icing in the same way as the marzipan, but stick the icing on by brushing the marzipan with freshly boiled water. Trim the edges neatly and add any extra decorations you like.

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