I tend to be a little last minute when it comes to making my Christmas cake, before I know it its December and Christmas is fast approaching. So I wanted to try and find a recipe that didn’t involve having to make one so far in advance. I managed to find this amazing recipe a couple of years ago.
900g mixed dried fruit
1/2 pint/300ml dry cider
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
170g nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and pecans)
225 soft brown sugar
1 dessert spoon of black treacle (optional but great for colour as well as taste!)
4 large eggs, beaten
225g plain flour
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
6 tbs apple brandy
Chop up the bigger pieces of dried fruit so that its all the size of a raisin.
Put all the fruit in a pan with the cider, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Allow it to cool. The fruit should absorb all of the liquid but if there’s any left drain it off.
Cream the butter and sugar with the finely grated rinds of the orange and lemon. Add the treacle if you are using it. Add in the beaten eggs and mix well.
Sift the flour with the spices and fold into the mixture with the soaked dried fruit, the chopped nuts, some of the juice from the orange and lemon to produce a soft dropping consistency.
Line an 8in/20cm cake tin with two layers of greaseproof paper. Wrap a thick layer of brown paper or newspaper around the tin and secure with string. Place the tin on a baking sheet with more brown paper between the baking sheet and the cake tin.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down. Shape a shallow hollow in the middle so that as the cake cooks it will rise evenly, giving a flat top.
Put in the oven and bake for 3-4 hours at 150c, checking half way – if the top is getting too brown cover it with a layer of brown paper.
When the cake is cooked, prick it all over with a fine skewer and pour over the apple brandy. Leave for a further 2 hours to completely cool before removing from the tin.
I have made this cake before and I personally think it tastes just as good as a cake made far in advance using the more traditional methods. Go on give it a try!