This dark rich moist fruit cake can be prepared in advance. Feed it regularly with Brandy, Rum or Whisky and it will mature over time. It's a great Christmas cake recipe is the perfect size for a single tier wedding cake.
.Or you can use 850g (total weight) Mixed Dried Fruit. When buying pre packed mixed dried fruit.
Grated zest of 1 large orange
Juice of 1 large orange. Approx. 4 – 5 tablespoons.
285gramsSelf Raising Flour
2teaspoonsMixed Spice or Speculaas spice
225gramsButter – fridge cold and cut into ½ cubes
225gramsDark soft Brown sugar
2tablespoonsof Black Treacle.
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In a large bowl, mix together the dried fruits, glace cherries, and orange zest. Pour over the Brandy and orange juice and mix well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Stirring occasionally. Allowing all the fruits to soak up the brandy and orange juice.
THE NEXT DAY
Preheat the oven to 170c deg Fan assisted oven
Grease and line 1 x 8 inch/20cm round deep-sided loose bottom cake tin with baking parchment. Line the outside of the tin with a folded sheet of brown paper. Tied with string. This will help prevent the edges of the cake from baking too dry and possibly burning.
In a large separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and mixed spice. Using your finger tips rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb consistency.
Add the sugar and ground almonds. Using your hands or a wooden spoon. Mix until well combined. Break up any remaining clumps of sugar and butter.
Add the soaked fruit, eggs and treacle and gently mix together until everything is well combined. This part can be done a lot easier and quicker when using a good electric mixer with a large bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin making sure the top is level and smooth. Bake in the oven for 1hr 20mins. Then turn the temperature down to 160c Fan and bake for a further 55 – 60 mins or until the cake is fully baked. Testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean. To help prevent the top of the cake from over baking, you can place a sheet of baking parchment across the top and over the cake.
If the skewer still has uncooked mixture left on it, continue baking at the same temperature. Testing again every 10 mins until the skewer comes out clean.
Leave in the tin to cool completely.
Take out of the tin and leave the inner lining on the cake. Feed the cake with a couple of tablespoons of Brandy.
Wrap in more baking parchment and feed every other day for a few weeks. Leave wrapped and in an airtight container until required.
Notes and tips.
How long should you soak the fruit for a Christmas Cake?
For this recipe, I soaked the dried fruit in fruit juice and brandy for a minimum of 6 hours. This allowed all the liquid to soak into the fruit, leaving no residual liquid behind. You can also soak the fruit overnight if you are making the cake early the following morning.
How to wrap and store a rich fruit cake
When the cake is completely cooled, double wrap in greaseproof paper/baking parchment, and further wrap in foil. Store in an airtight container to mature. A rich fruit cake like this will keep for several months when wrapped and stored correctly.
How to feed a Christmas fruit cake
This depends on how rich a flavour and how mature you want your cake to be and how long you plan to make it in advance. Feeding a rich fruit Chrismas cake with brandy, rum or whisky can be repeated at regular weekly/monthly intervals. Remember to rewrap it correctly between each feeding time.
What else can I use to soak the fruit and feed a rich fruit cake?
For a non-alcoholic fruit cake, soak the fruit in orange or apple juice rather than alcohol. I'm a little sceptical about feeding a fruit cake with fruit juice and keeping it for any length of time. As I'm sure at some point the fruit juice will begin to go off and spoil the cake. Especially if you are keeping it for any length of time. Far better to soak the fruit before baking. This is just my opinion.
A note on oven times.
All ovens are different. Therefore oven timings in recipes are a guide. Likewise, if you use a different sized cake tin to the one suggested in any recipe, this will also affect the oven timings. An oven thermometer is a great investment and well worth buying.
Baking tins for different sized cakes.
This recipe makes 1 x 8 inch round cake. But it will also make cakes using either of the following sized deep sided cake tins;
2 x 6 inch round cakes
1 x 6inch round cake and 2 x 4 inch round cakes
Cooking times for small Christmas cakes.These timings are for a conventional oven and are meant to be a guide only. Towards the end of the baking time, do the skewer test. If it comes out clean, it’s baked. If not bake longer testing again at 10 mins intervals.6 inch round tin = 1 hr at 160c then approx 40 mins at 120c4 inch round tin = 1 hr 160c then approx 20 mins at 120c