An unusual rosemary wreath elevates this Christmas classic. Packed with dried fruit, candied peel, spices and a hint of warmth from a generous glug of brandy, this cake will fill your home with all the classic scents of the season.
This elegant brandy Christmas cake is actually very simple to put together. The rustic icing saves time as well as adding a stylish flourish. It’s a classic Christmas cake recipe much like Mary Berry’s enduring favourite, with the festive addition of candied peel, black treacle, and orange and lemon zest.
- 850g mixed fruit
- 75g candied peel
- 100g glacé cherries cherries, washed, dried and chopped
- 4tbsp brandy or rum, plus extra for soaking
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g soft brown sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 250g plain our
- 1tsp grated nutmeg
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 50g almonds
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 large orange
- 2tbsp black treacle
- To decorate:
- 500g pack golden marzipan
- 300g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 2tbsp apricot jam
- 50g egg whites
- You will need:
- 20cm cake tin, greased and lined with 2 layers of baking parchment; festive wreath
In a bowl, blend the mixed fruits, candied peel and glacé cherries. Pour over the brandy, cover and leave overnight to absorb the liquid or, if you’re in a rush, warm them together in a pan instead.
Heat the oven to 140C/Gas 1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the eggs a little at a time and combine. Sift over the flour and spices with a pinch of salt. Add the nuts, zests, treacle and soaked fruit. Mix until well combined.
Transfer into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 4 hrs 30 mins. If the top is starting to brown too much put a sheet of foil on top. Leave the cake in the tin to cool.
When cold, turn it over and make a few holes evenly over the base with a skewer and drip in more alcohol. Carefully rewrap the cake in baking paper and keep it airtight afterwards.
To decorate, dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to a thickness of 3mm, large enough to cover the cake. Warm the jam and spread over the top and sides of the cake. Lay the marzipan over and smooth down using your hands.
Using an electric whisk, mix the icing sugar and egg whites on a low speed for 5 mins. Spread the icing over the cake and use a palette knife to create a texture by pulling it away from the cake. Top with a festive wreath.
Top tips for making this brandy Christmas cake
You could also decorate this cake using anything from a stencil to any festive cake decorations. To make the wreath, gently bend the rosemary in a circle and tie it with string, making sure to hide the string under the leaves. Tie a festive bow on top, and dot with cranberries. For a frosted appearance, lightly dust with icing sugar.