I’ve been baking my Christmas cakes this week. Some will say I’ve left it late – I say, I’ve got time to do it now so let the mixing commence.
I make a really easy cake and I’ve tweaked the recipe as time goes on. So here we go – you’ll need:
250g of butter (softened)
250g of sugar (caster, light muscavado, dark muscavado if you like a treacley cake)
250g plain flour
heaped teaspoon mixed spice
500g dried mixed fruit (we use the luxury mixed fruit bags from Tesco)
100g glace cherries (but this house loves cherries, so I put 200g in)
You can also add some chopped dried apricots (probably about a dozen of them) or other dried fruit if that takes your fancy. I also add some grated root ginger.
Brandy/other soaking alcohol of your choice. For really boozy cakes I buy the standard dried mixed fruit bags and then feed it brandy over about 3 days (pour some over it, leave it overnight & repeat until it won’t take any more!).
My cake for our house is alcohol free so I use the luxury fruit mix as it’s plumper and needs less fluid.
Pre-heat your oven to about 160C (140 Fan), Gas 3
Grease and line a 20cm (that’s about an 8″) tin – or if you’re using silicon, gloat that you have made an excellent investment and that you don’t have to grease and line!
Get a big old bowl and into it put
The butter, sugar, flour, mixed spice and eggs. Using your trusty handmixer – beat this all together to make a smooth cake batter.
Add the dried fruit and mix in. If you’re not using alcohol soaked fruit, add a good splodge of milk to keep the mixture nice and soft.
Finally add the cherries and give a gentle mix in so they don’t break up too much.
Pour into your tin, and bake for about 90mins. Ish. I don’t know what your oven is like and I don’t know how deep your tin is. The cakes I made last week cooked a darn sight quicker than the ones that I’m waiting to finish whilst I type this!
To test when it’s cooked, put a skewer into the cake and if it comes out clean it’s done. If it starts smelling/looking a bit crispy, cover the top with a piece of greaseproof paper or foil whilst it finishes off.
When it’s done, allow to cool in the tin for a bit and then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. Wrap tightly in foil and put in a safe place ready to be decorated closer to Christmas.
Alternatively, cut into slices and serve immediately!