A good Christmas cake is so expensive to buy. We make our own from a frugally adapted recipe. Prices have risen in 2022 but with the icing and the marzipan it was under £10 last year by buying fruit and nuts from discounted places like Home Bargains. The fruit often is not as moist but it doesn’t matter as you soak it in orange juice or alcohol. I have even used hot water when broke. We made ours at the beginning of October and feed it with alcohol a couple of times to add to the taste. Last year I only had vodka but it still tasted great. It is not too late to make one now.
1 kg mixed fruit
350g glace cherries.
150ml brandy (+ extra if feeding later)
2 oranges (zest)
250g butter (or marg)
250g soft brown sugar.
4 large eggs (room temp)
75g chopped blanched almonds
275g Plain flour
1.5 tsp mixed spice
- Chop the cherries in half and put all the fruit into a bowl.
- Pour in the brandy (or you can use orange juice or other alcohol) and put in the zest of the two oranges. Stir.
- Cover in cling film and leave to soak for 3 days, stirring daily.
- Grease and line a 10 inch, deep cake tin. 2 layers of grease proof paper helps prevent the cake from burning.
- Preheat oven to 140⁰C.
- Put the butter, sugar, almonds and eggs into a large bowl and beat. (You can add a tbsp of black treacle at this point too but I don’t bother)
- Add the flour and mixed spice and mix well. Mix into the fruit.
- Place in the cake tin and and level the top.
- The tin will be pretty full. Place in the centre of the oven for 4 to 4.5 hours until firm to the touch and golden brown. (Mine was ready after about 3.75hrs). If it starts to get too brown on top, cover with greaseproof paper.
- When ready take out of the oven, put a bit of parchment and wrap in foil and leave to cool.
I buy the more expensive ingredients individually throughout the year to spread the cost, in fact I got the glace cherries reduced last January. Actually, mixing the cake doesn’t take long, and is easy, and I find it a nice tradition to make it with family to start thinking about Christmas.