Christmas is coming...

It’s never to early (or late for some!) for seasonal baking, and Amy our home economist, has come up with a Christmas cracker! Here’s her absolutely delicious recipe for Christmas cake, baked in her own Roundhouse bespoke kitchen. She tells us that it won’t be iced until Christmas though as she wants to keep ‘feeding’ it brandy!
IMG_8352Christmas Cake         makes 1 x 8”/20cm round cake
230g sultanas
230g raisins
170g currants
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
100g glace cherries, halved – or left whole if you prefer
50g mixed peel
50g crystallised ginger, chopped
6 tbsp brandy, plus more for ‘feeding’ the cake
250g plain flour
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
250g butter, softened
250g dark brown soft sugar
4 x medium free-range eggs
2 tbsp black treacle
1 x orange, zest only
1 x lemon, zest only
50g almonds, roughly chopped

  1. The day before you want to make the cake, you need to soak the fruit – so tip the sultanas, raisins, currants, apricots, glace cherries, peel and ginger in to a bowl and pour over the brandy. Turn to coat everything, then cover with cling film and set aside to steep for at least 12 hours.
  1. When it’s time to make the cake, first prepare the tin. Grease and double line the tin with baking parchment and then wrap a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin and secure with a piece of butcher’s string.
  1. Preheat the oven on Conventional Heat/ Top and Bottom Heat, 140°C, with a wire rack on the second shelf up from the bottom of the oven. Be sure to remove all trays and extra racks from the oven as these will block the heat and stop the cake from cooking evenly.
  1. In a stand mixer or large bowl and electric hand whisk, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the black treacle.
  1. Weigh out the flour and spices into a smaller bowl, and sieve them in to the cake mix in stages, folding them in each time. Finally fold in the soaked fruit, orange and lemon zests and chopped almonds, and mix well to combine.
  1. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, level off the top and cover with a double layer of baking parchment to stop the top from getting too brown.
  1. Bake for one hour before reducing the oven temperature to 120°C, and continue to cook for a further 3 hours. Check that the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer in to the centre of the cake to check that it comes out clean, then remove the cake from the oven and cool completely before removing from the tin.
  1. Skewer the top of the cake a few times to allow for the brandy to soak in to the cake when you ‘feed’ it. Wrap the cake in cling film and foil, store in a cool dark place and drizzle over a little brandy (or sherry) once a week or so, until you are ready to start topping the cake the week before Christmas.IMG_8342