When I was a little girl I remember our house smelling of Christmas Cake. That intoxicating smell of spices and fruit and alcohol brewing in a big bowl on the kitchen counter. When it came to be time to make the cake we would all have a turn at stirring the bowl and making a wish as we did. The finished cake would sit proudly on display until it was sliced up on Christmas Day after everyone had stuffed themselves full at lunchtime. As a young kid I didn’t actually like the cake that much but I remember I would always ask for a corner piece because I’d get more icing than cake that way, and I loved the icing!
So this year, I made my very own Christmas Cake, though I’m not waiting for Christmas Day to cut mine, otherwise we would never get through it all. (See the photo above this – yes, I am currently enjoying a slice with my cup of tea!) I sort of did a mix up of recipes and came up with my own version before covering it in fondant. Now, I’ve never used fondant before and let’s just say that the combination of my inexperience and the thousand percent humidity we are experiencing at the moment, made it slightly more challenging than I expected. But the cake is finished and we cut it today and it is delicious! So here is the recipe if you want to try it for yourself.
- 800g sultanas
- 320g raisins, chopped
- 185g currants
- 155g apricots, chopped
- 250g prunes, pitted and quartered
- 250ml spiced rum
- 55g brown sugar
- 80g apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 250g softened unsalted butter
- 230g soft brown sugar
- 125g chocolate bits
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 4 eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 60g self raising flour
1. Combine all of your dried fruit in a bowl along with the sugar, jam, cocoa, rum and spices and leave to sit in a covered bowl for 24 hours.
2. Preheat your oven to 150C. Grease and line your tin (23cm/9inch). Do lots of layers of baking paper or brown paper on all sides and raise the sides up high. Because of the long cooking time the cake needs extra protection. I’ve heard of people even sitting the tin on newspaper in the oven but I didn’t go this far and my cake was fine.
3. Beat the butter, sugar and zest until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
4. Stir in soaked fruit mix and chocolate alternately with flours until everything is combined. This is the point where you get everyone to have a stir and make a wish.
5. Spread mixture evenly into the tin and tap the tin on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Scrap any remaining mixture from your bowl and smooth it over the top of your cake to get an even finish. You can even dip your finger in water and level the surface.
6. Bake for 3 – 3.5 hours, until skewer comes out clean.
7. Cool the cake completely before removing from the tin. I left mine overnight to cool. Once cool, wrap in layers of baking paper and tin foil before sealing in an airtight container to keep fresh. The cakes apparently improve if kept like this for a few weeks. I left mine for about a week before icing. You can refrigerate them un-iced for 3 months. You can even feed them alcohol by poking holes in the cake with a skewer and pouring in your chosen alcohol. I didn’t do this because my kids will want to eat it.
8. To decorate I turned my cake upside down to get a smoother surface. I plugged any holes with small bits of fondant and brushed the whole cake with some melted apricot jam. I bought 2 packets of ready to roll fondant and kneaded them together and had plenty left over for making extra decorations. I simply covered the whole cake and made a ribbon as well. The fondant was very hard to work with in the heat and humidity of an Aussie summer and I even had a fan and the air conditioning blasting.
It is obviously an amateur cake but it is made with love and is my very first homemade Christmas Cake. But most importantly, do you make a wish when you stir your fruit cake?Love it. Follow me. . .