Christmas Fruit Cake

Christmas Fruit Cake

I totally get that not everyone is keen on a traditional Christmas Fruit Cake, but I LOVE it, my husband LOVES it, heck even my children LOVE it! 

This has taken some tweaking over the years, in fact it’s probably more unlike the original recipe that it’s like it anymore, but it’s really very good and crammed full of glacé cherries and blanched almonds, which is the best part about Christmas, I think. 

If you haven’t made the fruit mixture, you need to do that first, so pop on over and get it done…Christmas Cheer  

 

Ingredients 

250g butter softened

230g brown sugar 

2 tsp orange zest freshly grated 

2 tsp lemon zest freshly grated 

4 eggs room temperature - It’s important they are room temperature (not straight from the fridge) or they will solidify little clumps of your butter and you’ll find yourself in a mess. 

250g plain flour 

60g self raising flour 

1/2 cup blanched almonds roughy chopped 

Your Christmas Cheer Fruit Mixture 

Whole blanched almonds for the top - I did have to use macadamias this year, and it’s just not the same. 

Cake tin/ tins I use a big 20cm square cake tin and have just enough left over for about 6 muffins- to taste test of

 

Method 

- preheat oven to 150*

- prepare your tin, you need baking paper all over the bottom and right up the sides, probably about 2 inches higher than the tin. For the muffins I just use normal papers, but the white cafe style ones are best. 

I usually do the bottom as one piece and the sides as another, it’s super important to be neat, because this will be what you will wrap it in at the end to keep all the Christmassy goodness enclosed. 

- cream the butter, soft brown sugar and freshly grated zests in a very large bowl 

- add the (room temperature) eggs one at a time beating well after each addition 

in a seperate bowl sift both flours together

- alternately add 1 spoon of flour mix and 1 spoon of Christmas Cheer fruit mixture, to the butter eggs and sugar mix stirring well after each addition 

What size spoon you use is really determined by your patience I suppose, sometimes I use a dessert spoon, and others a big serving spoon, I haven’t yet found the need to acquire one of those ginormous ones that you see on the wall in some houses…but never say never. 

- Once you’ve given it a good mix, add the chopped almonds and stir well then pour it in your cake tin and give it a good bash on the bench, you want to knock any air bubbles out. - from here on we will refer to this cake as “Biggsy”

- Fill the six muffin tins and give them a wee tap too. 

- Dip your fingers in some water and smooth out the tops, this will give it them a nice glossy smooth surface once baked and make them look nice and neat. 

- Now you can have some fun using the whole blanched almonds to decorate the tops.

My children like them to go on all higgledy-piggledy which makes my eye twitch ever so slightly…

- Pop Biggsy on the bottom shelf of your oven and the muffins on the middle shelf, you may have to move the shelves around a little so you don’t flatten the paper sides. 

- The muffins will need about 50mins

- Biggsy will need anywhere between 2-3hours. I like to pop a skewer in the centre to see if she’s done after 2hrs and then keep testing every fifteen minutes. You’ll know she’s ready when no batter comes out on the skewer, but ideally you want a little bit of something clinging to it, you don’t need it coming out “clean” like with a sponge or butter cake. 

- as soon as you take them out of the oven, fold the sides of the baking paper down onto the top of the cake, place a piece of baking paper over the top of the muffin tray, then quickly wrap them in a clean tea towel, tray/tin and all.

- Once they’re cool enough to handle, slide Biggsy out of her tin (leave the baking paper stuck to her though) and wrap the whole cake again with extra baking paper, then a tight seal of foil. Same for the muffin ones, although if you're going to eat them within a few days, an airtight container is fine. 

A good tight wrap will keep all the moisture in and prevent you from ending up with a dry cake.  She will keep for ages, I couldn’t quite tell you how long, but people in our house have been known to still be snacking around Easter time on some that was forgotten. 

If you really want to go all in, a Christmas cake is it’s very best when it’s been well “fed”.  Once a week until Christmas I like to unwrap her, and give her a little sprinkle of liquor. It could be rum, brandy, whiskey, or my favourite Cointreau…

I wouldn’t like to say how much, in total, that really depends on whose going to be eating it.  The alcohol content isn’t going to be cooked off so you do need to be wary…but I think a “splash” is good, which I think would work out to be about half a measure or 15ml

We usually make one for our lovely neighbours across the road. One year the husband sent us a photographic timeline of him eating the cake over weeks, with a sad face when there was only crumbs left.  Bless him, he’s so sweet! But it IS really good, and 80 something year old men KNOW their fruitcake! 

A tiny slice is great with a sliver of sharp cheddar, but I do get that some would find that completely repulsive, however I am quite a fan. 

Do let me know if you make it, I’d love to know what you think. And if you happen to be feeling brave and try a slice with cheese, I’d love to hear all about it! 

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