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finished cake

As I’ve mentioned before, I really like Christmas baking.  One of my favourite bits is a tradition that has developed of getting together with a few friends and baking Christmas cake together each November.  The recipe came from my lovely mother-in-law Robyn, who still bakes several each Christmas, however we live in different states, so I started baking it myself so Mr Goldenpudding (Mr GP for short) wouldn’t miss out.

fruit ready for chopping

After making mini cakes for friends one Christmas, there were many requests for the recipe, and somehow, we ended up getting together to mix up a big batch.  Every year since 2008 we’ve repeated what has now become a lovely tradition, getting together to chat, have a glass of bubbly, and going home with one of these cakes.  This year there were six of us, hence the huge bowls of soaking fruit to make a batch six times the recipe below!

soaking fruit

I have to also add, as any other stand mixer fans will appreciate, that I get a ridiculous sense of satisfaction watching my machine effortlessly charge through a bowl of 1.5 kg each of butter and sugar!

creaming butter and sugar

This is a really rich and delicious fruit cake, and would probably be quite tasty with any fruit, but if you’re going to the bother, I think it really deserves great quality fruit, so I use lovely Australian sultanas, raisins and currants, and preferably French or Italian glacé fruit (I would happily buy Australian, but it’s almost impossible to get now – if you have any sources, please let me know in the comments!).  Do you have a special cake you make every Christmas?

cakes ready to bake

Christmas cake

Makes one approx 3kg cake

  • 250g raisins
  • 250g sultanas
  • 250g currants
  • 250g whole glacé fruit (any combination of apricot, pineapple slices, peach, fig, quince slices)
  • 125g glacé cherries
  • 125g glacé peel
  • 60g glacé ginger
  • 60g dried dates
  • 125g slivered almonds (optional)
  • 160mL brandy
  • 250g butter
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tbs jam or marmalade
  • 1/2 tsp lemon essence
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 250g plain flour
  • 90g SR flour
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • blanched almonds to decorate

Chop glacé fruit and ginger roughly, halve cherries, and slice dates.  Combine all fruit in a large bowl and stir in brandy.  Cover and leave for a week, (or more) stirring every couple of days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 125C.  Grease and line a 23cm (9”) square pan or similar.

Stir together the flours and spices and put aside.  Cream the butter and sugar  (preferably in a stand mixer) until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the jam and essences.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in 1/2 of the flour, followed by half the fruit, the second 1/2 of the flour and the other half of the fruit with any remaining liquid plus almonds if using.  The mixture will be very heavy and difficult to stir, so feel free to use your hands if needed!

Scrape the mixture into the pan and level the surface.  Decorate with blanched almonds in any pattern you like.  Put in the preheated oven and cook for at least 3 hours.  I start testing at three hours, but it can take up to four.  Cover the cake with foil if it starts to brown too much.

Once the cake tester comes out clean, remove the cake and put the tin on a rack to cool completely.  If you like, you can carefully spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra brandy over the warm cake.  Once cold, remove from the tin and store in an airtight container for as long as you can make it last!  I suggest leaving at least a week before eating, but it will continue to improve for a couple of weeks, and will last for months.