Traditional Christmas cake
- December 2011
- Serves 30-32
- Takes 30 minutes to make, 4½ hours to cook
Make this traditional recipe from Richard Bertinet a month before Christmas, then feed it once a week for a rich and decadent Christmas cake.
- 16.7g (7.1g saturated)
- 50.2g (43g sugars)
For 32 servings
- 375g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra, melted, for greasing
- 370g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp each ground nutmeg and cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 130g ground almonds
- 480g each currants, raisins and sultanas
- 225g each glacé cherries and mixed citrus peel
- 130g blanched almonds
- 315g soft dark brown sugar
- Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 9 large free-range eggs, plus 1 extra (optional)
- 8 tbsp brandy
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Grease a 20cm round, deep cake tin thoroughly with melted butter, then line with a double layer of baking paper brushed generously with melted butter, so the paper protrudes 10-12cm above the top.
- Tie a double layer of baking paper around the outside of the tin so it also protrudes 10-12cm, to stop the cake burning. Sift the flour, salt, spices and ground almonds into a large bowl, add the fruit and blanched almonds, then mix together well.
- In a separate bowl, cream the sugar, butter and zest until fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir into the flour and fruit, then stir in the lemon juice and half the brandy. The mix should be soft/moist. If not, add an extra egg, beaten with a little milk.
- Spoon the mix into the tin, level the top, then bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 140°C/fan120°C/gas 1 and bake for 3¼-3½ hours. Cover loosely with baking paper for the last 2 hours to stop the cake burning. It’s done when it shrinks a little from the sides.
- Remove from the oven and cool a little before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in baking paper, then foil.
Ideally, make this a month in advance. Unwrap the foil once a week and make holes in the cake using a skewer – pour 1 tbsp brandy over, then rewrap. Once the brandy has been added, it will keep for another 2-3 months in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
When beating in the eggs in step 3, don’t worry if it looks like the batter is curdling. This is fine, as it all comes together again when mixed with the dry ingredients.
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