Recipe

Beginners' christmas cake

This is the perfect recipe to start your Christmas cake baking tradition. It can be made ahead of time easy preparation on any occasion.

  • 3 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 36
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Ingredients

Beginners' christmas cake
  • 250 gram butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1.5 kilogram mixed dried fruit
  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup sweet sherry
  • 1/4 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 2 tablespoon sweet sherry, extra
  • 125 gram blanched whole almonds, chopped coarsely,

Method

Beginners' christmas cake
  • 1
    Position oven shelves; preheat oven to slow. Line base and sides of deep 19cm-square cake pan with three thicknesses baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above sides of pan.
  • 2
    Beat butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until just combined; beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined between additions. Mixture may curdle at this point but will come together later.
  • 3
    Scrape mixture into large bowl; add marmalade and fruit, mix thoroughly with one hand.
  • 4
    Sift flours and spice over mixture; add sherry, mix well.
  • 5
    Drop dollops of mixture into corners of pan to hold paper in position; spread remaining mixture into pan.
  • 6
    Drop cake pan from a height of about 15cm onto bench to settle mixture into pan and to break any large air bubbles; level surface of cake mixture with wet metal spatula, decorate top with almonds.
  • 7
    Bake cake in slow oven about 3 hours. Remove cake from oven; brush top with extra sherry. Cover pan tightly with foil; cool cake in pan.

Notes

If both butter and eggs are at room temperature, this will help avoid the mixture curdling. Buy fruit already mixed, or mix your own to suit your taste. All fruit should be chopped to the size of a sultana. Nuts can be added to the fruit mixture, if you like; 125g blanched whole almonds, chopped coarsely, is an ideal amount. You can use dark brown or black sugar rather than brown sugar for a more richly coloured cake. Rum, brandy or your favourite liqueur can be substituted for the sherry. Cointreau and Grand Marnier work especially well with this recipe. This cake can also be baked in a deep 22cm-round cake pan. Cover cake loosely with foil during baking if it starts to overbrown. Give the cake quarter turns several times during baking to avoid uneven browning. Covered cake in pan will go from oven to room temperature in about 24 hours. Remove cake from pan by turning cake upside down onto bench and carefully peeling lining paper away from sides but leaving base paper in place. Wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap to keep airtight, then in foil. Wrapped cake can be kept in a cool, dark place for about 3 months; however, if your climate is humid, keep the cake in a sealed plastic bag or tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Cake can be frozen for up to 12 months.