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This simple, all-in-one easy Christmas cake recipe makes the perfect fruit base for your festive treat.
Compared to a classic Christmas cake recipe (opens in new tab), this is an easy Christmas cake to put together – though it will still take around three hours to prepare and bake. It’s well worth making your cake a good few weeks in advance so it's got plenty of time to absorb all of the wonderfully festive flavours of the mixed fruit and brandy. This hearty cake will serve between 14-21 people, for a not-too-naughty 311 calories a slice.
- 3 large eggs
- 300g (10oz) plain flour
- 250g (8oz) butter, softened
- 250g (8oz) light muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp ground mixed spice
- Pinch of salt
- 410g jar of mincemeat
- 500g (1lb) dried mixed fruit
- 4 tbsp brandy
- 20cm (8in) round or 18cm (7in) square cake tin, lined with baking parchment
- To ensure the cake is positioned centrally in the oven, put one of the shelves just below the centre of it. Set the oven to 140°C/280°F/Gas Mark 1.
- Break the eggs into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the brandy. Beat the mixture until smooth, then spoon it into the lined cake tin. With a wet hand, press the mixture into the tin and smooth on top, so that it's level.
- Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 - 3.5 hours, or until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the cake.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool for about 15 minutes, then spoon over the brandy. Leave it to cool completely in the tin.
- Remove the cake from the tin and peel away the lining paper. Wrap it in clean baking parchment and then foil, and store in a cool place for up to 3 months, until ready to cover with icing and decorate. Follow our guide on how to cover a cake with marzipan (opens in new tab).
Top tips for making this easy Christmas cake recipe
How long before Christmas should I make the cake?
It’s best to bake your Christmas cake 6-12 weeks before Christmas. To keep the sponge moist, ‘feed’ it weekly with alcohol: prick the cake all over with a fine skewer, before drizzling with a couple of spoons of your chosen liqueur. Make sure you wrap the cake well in greaseproof paper and tinfoil in between feedings, otherwise you risk it drying out.
What is the best alcohol for Christmas cake?
Use a reasonably strong spirit (around 40% ABV), such as rum, brandy, or sherry. If the liquor has a warm, fiery flavour it'll definitely compliment the cake. Strong alcohol will also help to preserve the cake so it will keep for longer and you can enjoy every last slice.
Do you have to put alcohol on a Christmas cake?
Worried such a boozy cake will leave you tipsy? Remember the brandy or sherry is only going to add flavour – the actual amount of alcohol in each slice is unlikely to have much of an impact. But if you don’t fancy making such a strong cake for whatever reason, simply omit the alcohol and replace it with orange or grape juice. Just make sure to soak your dried fruit in juice overnight to avoid the cake being dry.
How long does a non-alcoholic Christmas cake last?
Without the alcohol to act as a preservative, a ‘virgin’ cake won’t last quite as long. Aim to finish the cake within a month of baking, and be sure to store it in an airtight container.
How should I decorate a Christmas cake?
Once you've mastered this recipe you can get decorating with your chosen topping, be it traditional fondant and marzipan or royal icing. If you're looking to keep it simple, don't decorate this cake at all – simply serve glazed in a light drizzle of honey, golden syrup, or warmed apricot jam.
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