Have you ever made a Christmas Cake?
Well if you haven’t it’s always a nice little task to do in your kitchen with a family member or a good friend that you know will stop for the odd dance to a classic christmas song playing on the radio. Well this isn’t just your average run of the mill cake, this is Mary Berry’s Victorian-style Christmas cake (said in my best voice over accent). You may have enjoyed seeing Mary Berry on the Great British Bake Off? You’ll certainly impress your family and friends who might be coming round to join you in the celebrations. If you’re organized it’s a good idea to get prepared well ahead of the big day and save yourself some stress. It’s made with fruits including currants, raisins and cherries and soaked with rich sherry, the sponge is fruity and moist. Mary Berry’s Christmas cake is topped with an easy royal icing and decorated with a festive ribbon. This recipe was taken from Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection book available at many online retailers. Serve this cake with a dollop of brandy butter if you want to have the real indulgent experience. Everyone will love tucking into it! It is CAKE after all.
- Prep time: 30 mins
- (plus 3 days for soaking the fruit) Cooking time: 4 hrs
- (may need an extra 15 mins) Total time: 4 hrs 30 mins
- Costs: Mid-price
175g (6 oz) raisins
350g (12 oz) glace cherries, rinsed, thoroughly dried and quartered
500g (1lb 2oz) currants
350g (12oz) sultanas
150ml (1⁄4 pint) sherry, plus extra for feeding
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
250g (9oz) butter, softened
250g (9oz) light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
75g (3oz) blanched almonds, chopped
75g (3oz) self-raising flour
175g (6oz) plain flour
11⁄2 tsp mixed spice
To prepare the Christmas cake ahead:
Prepare the fruit and soak in sherry 3 days ahead. This is essential to plump up and flavour the fruit. Make the cake and wrap as in stage 4. Store in a cool place for up to 3 months, following stage 4. You could also freeze the cake before decorating, for up to 3 months; defrost at room temperature.
1. Put all the dried fruit in a container, pour over the sherry and stir in the orange zest. Cover with a lid, and leave to soak for 3 days, stirring daily. Grease and line a 23cm (9in) deep round tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 140C, 120C fan, gas 1.
2. Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, treacle and almonds into a very large bowl and beat well. Add the flours and mixed spice and mix thoroughly until blended. Stir in the soaked fruit. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
3. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 4-4 and a half hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check after 2 hours, and, if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
4. When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and feed with a little extra sherry. Wrap the completely cold cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil and store in a cool place for up to 3 months, feeding at intervals with more sherry. (Don’t remove the lining paper when storing as this helps to keep the cake moist.)
5. Decorate with almond paste and royal icing.
To finish and decorate Mary Berry’s Christmas cake:
About 3tbsp apricot jam, sieved and warmed Icing sugar
675g shop-bought almond paste
Packet royal icing mix to cover 23cm/9in cake