To help you get into the festive spirit, our Food and Beverage Director Simon Haigh shares his favourite classic Christmas cake recipe.
The original Christmas cake recipe was passed down to Simon from his college lecturer Mr. Jenkins. Simon says: “He had more years of hospitality experience than I care to think about. What Mr. Jenkins didn’t know about baking and pastry was not worth knowing.”
Preparation is key
You’ll need to find a suitable cake tin that will look good when presenting your cake once cooked. Bear in mind that this recipe will make approximately 2 kilos of cake mix, so your cake tin will need to be big enough.
Also, it’s always worth ensuring your cake tin fits the oven, Simon warns he’s seen plenty of times where the tin doesn’t fit! If you would prefer to make a smaller cake, you can scale down the recipe to suit requirements.
Due to the long cooking time, there is a risk of the sides of the cake catching or becoming overbaked.
To prevent this happening and because cake tins are quite thin, Simon recommends to take some cardboard and tie it to the sides of the tin. This essentially adds insulation and prevents it from overcooking – you don’t need to do this for the base though, unless your oven is heated from the base.
Good to know
Before you start to make the mix, make sure you preheat your oven to 150 degrees centigrade. If you have a thermometer it’s worth checking the temperature as domestic ovens can vary greatly.
All ovens have hot spots to them, so during the cooking process make sure you turn your cake at regular intervals to help with an even cook.
If you like your cake a bit boozy, you can soak the dried fruit beforehand in a dark spirit of your choice. However, be careful that you do not over-do this as it will make the mix wet and will lead to a more moist cake.
- 210g Castor sugar
- 30g Black treacle (if you prefer, you can use 240g of light soft brown sugar in place of the sugar and treacle mix)
- 240g Salted butter
- 300ml/6 Eggs at room temperature
- 30g Ground almonds
- 300g Plain flour
- 600g Currents
- 300g Sultanas
- 120g Glace cherries (rinse in warm water and cut into four)
- 120g Mixed peel
- 2g Nutmeg
- Brandy (for feeding the cake)
- Cream butter, sugar and treacle together till light and the sugar dissolves. Gradually add the egg.
- Fold through the flour and almonds to form a smooth batter.
- Mix through the dried fruit and place in a greaseproof lined mould which has been brushed with soft butter and dusted with plain flour, this will stop the cake from sticking later.
- Place the mix in the lined and cardboard covered mould and bake, turning regularly.
- The cooking time will vary but will be approximately 2-2.5hrs. To test, take a needle or small knife and push into the centre of the cake. When removed it should come away clean and be hot to the touch.
- When cooked, remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool fully. When cold place in an airtight container.
- Every 2 or 3 days add a sprinkling of brandy on the cake each time turning it so you get an even distribution of the brandy. Do not go mad as it will just make the cake soggy.
- After 8 applications (4 on top, 4 on bottom), your cake will be ready to be decorated if you so wish.
We hope we’ve inspired you to get cooking ready for the festive period with our Christmas cake recipe…now enjoy!