It is the season to be baking now that we have reached December! I decided to post about this Christmas Cake now, rather than doing another post that I was planning on due to the fact that this cake needs time to rest for Christmas- leave it much later and it won’t be at its best!
I have been wanting to make a Christmas cake for several years now, but have never got around to it due to them being fairly time and labour intensive. And because I was never prepared enough to make it in advance!
This year however I was determined to make one. I used a recipe I found in Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection. It is a recipe book I got last Christmas and didn’t get around to using, but have been finding it invaluable for ideas this year around!
I decided on the American Light Christmas cake for a few reasons- it is supposed to be lighter than a classic Christmas cake that I often find too much, it contains pineapple and almonds which I love in cakes and it doesn’t contain any alcohol- which I thought would keep it lighter tasting.
Sadly I can’t try this cake yet as it is put away ready for Christmas. Hence the backdrop of tinfoil as I unwrapped it to take pictures! I will update with pictures of it cut, and how I liked it(and post pictures on twitter/ instagram) once I cut it. (It smells delicious.)
I used an 8 ½ inch deep cake tin instead of the 9in recommended as I didn’t have one and it worked fine. Ensure to grease well and line the base and sides with a double layer of greased baking paper.
- 350g glacé cherries (chopped into quarters and rinsed/ drained on kitchen roll.) Plus extra whole for decoration
- 1x 200g can of pineapple in natural juice (roughly chopped and very well drained on kitchen paper-if left wet the cake may go mouldy.)
- 350g no-soak dried apricots (Snipped with scissors into raisin sized pieces.)
- 100g whole blanched almonds, chopped. Plus extra whole for decoration.
- Finely grated zest of two lemons
- 350g sultanas
- 250g self-raising flour
- 250g caster sugar
- 250g butter, softened (the softer it is the easier it will be to make!)
- 75g ground almonds
- 5 eggs
Preheat oven to 160°C/140°c Fan. Make sure the deep cake tin is prepared as above. (greased and lined base and sides with greased baking paper)
Place the prepared fruits and nuts into a large mixing bowl with the lemon zest and gently mix. Add the remaining ingredients (Flour, sugar, butter, ground almonds and eggs) and beat well until smooth. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and smooth. Decorate the top with whole blanched almonds and halved glacé cherries.
Bake in the preheated oven for around 2 ¼ hours until golden brown. Use a cake tester or skewer to test- if it comes out clean it is ready. After one hour, if the cake is getting too brown cover loosely with foil.
Leave in the tin to cool for 30 mins then turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
If desired you can glaze the cake by mixing 100g icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing. Drizzle decoratively over the top of the cake (I haven’t decided whether or not to do so yet!)
Finally wrap in tin foil and keep in a cool, dry place. Mary recommends ideally making the cake 1 month ahead, so if you want to make it for Christmas make it soon!
It is a fairly labour intensive cake due to all of the chopping, and it takes quite a while due to the long baking time but I feel like Christmas is the time to have something a little special.
I’d love to hear any Christmas baking recommendations people have!