Christmas Cake, if you’re from a household that enjoys this tradition, is usually made using a family recipe. In our family, this has been followed for nearly 30 years; however this year we’ve deviated (for reasons outside of this blog entry) from tradition and have decided to try out Eric Lanlard’s recipe for Christmas Cake. There are many recipes out there, each with their own twist – this one includes chocolate, roasted nuts and an abundance of brandy-soaked fruit.
The cake can be made up to 6 months before Christmas as long as it is kept in an airtight container and fed regularly with brandy. The original recipe is featured in Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake book.
Preparation time: 24 hours to soak fruit + 30 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours
- 350g golden sultanas
- 350g raisins
- 350ml brandy
- 350g unsalted butter
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 200g dark brown sugar
- 100g molasses sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 300g plain flour
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 lemons – zest and juice
- 150g chopped, mixed peel
- 100 glacé cherries
- 50g walnut halves
- 50g whole hazelnuts – whole, shelled and toasted
- The day before you want to bake the cake, put the sultanas and raisins in a bowl and douse with half the brandy, cover and leave to stoop.
- When you’re ready to start baking, pre-heat the oven to 150ºC. Grease a 20cm-diameter, deep cake tin with butter and double line with greaseproof paper on the base and round the sides, with sufficient paper that stands above the side of the tin.
- Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie and leave to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl (or using a food processor with beater attachment), cream the butter and sugars until it is light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and eggs mixing them in at a slow speed. Scrape down the sides until everything is incorporated.
- The mixture may split but it will recombine when you sift in the flour and spices.
- Stir in the remaining brandy, lemon juice and zest, followed by the brandy-soaked fruit, mixed peel, glacé cherries and nuts.
- Spoon into the prepared baking tin, level the surface and bake for 3.5 to 4 hours, until an inserted knife comes out clean. The cake will appear much darker than usual fruit cakes because of the addition of chocolate.
- Leave the cake to cool, Peel off the lining paper and pour over a small amount of brandy. Wrap in clingfilm and store in a cool, airtight container until ready to decorate.