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Baking, Recipes

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas…..

I know, there are still 12 weeks to go until the big day. I am a big advocate that Christmas should not appear in shops and on TV until after Halloween, however it has already started to sneak into many places on the high street (bah humbug!) There is only one Christmas item which can be discussed at this time of year, and that is Christmas cake. This needs to be prepared in the coming weeks so that it has plenty of feeding time for that wonderful moist texture.I was lucky enough to get a ticket to The Cake and Bake Show in London – for those who missed it, I would highly recommend tickets for the April 2013 show in Manchester. Baking Mad were the headline partner of the show, and at their stand they were selling mini Christmas cake packs for £5. These included a recipe card and some cake baking products including sugar and decorating items. As this is my first attempt at a Christmas cake, I followed the recipe exactly – apart from adding a little extra brandy… It was easy to follow, and my kitchen smelt very festive!


1.25kg mixed dried fruit
120ml brandy plus extra for feeding
1 orange zest and juice
1 lemon zest and juice
125g glacé cherries
175g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
225g unsalted butter (softened)
225g light muscovado sugar
5 large eggs
100g ground almonds
LOTS of greaseproof paper
Some string

In a large bowl, put the dried fruit, brandy, orange zest and juice, and lemon zest and juice. I had difficulties getting the zest from an orange, so instead I peeled the rind off and finely chopped it. Give it all a good mix, cover in cling-film and leave to soak for 24 hours (stirring occasionally).When the dried fruit is ready, preheat the oven to 150C. Line a 24cm round cake tin with 3 layers of greaseproof paper on the inside, and 2 layers on the outside which are secured tightly with some string.Sift together the flour and mixed spice in a small bowl and place to the side. Rinse and dry the glacé cherries, and cut into quarters. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and smooth. Mix in 1 egg and add a tablespoon of the flour mix to prevent it from curdling; repeat until all the eggs have been added. Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds, cherries and soaked dried fruit until all combined – the mixture starts to get quite heavy at this point so you will need to put a bit of arm-welly into it!Spoon the mixture into the tin, level the top with the back of the spoon and make a small well in the middle (not quite as deep as I made mine!)Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 140C and bake for a further 3 hours (or when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean). Keep an eye on the cake and if the top starts to brown too quickly, loosely place some foil over the top. Once cooked, leave to cool completely in the tin – this could take anywhere up to 5 hours so be sure to start the cake early in the day.When the cake is cold, prick a few holes around and drizzle over 2 tbsp of brandy. Wrap the cake up in 2 layers of foil and place in a large tupperware box (as seen in the first photo of this post). I will repeat this step every fornight until early December, and then decorate a few weeks later. I will be doing another post closer to Christmas about decorating my cake, so keep your eyes peeled for then – enjoy 🙂

About beesteasandbooks

I am a keen reader and baker who loves all things sweets! This site is for me to review books and share baking recipes. If you have any comments or recommendations, then please get in touch!


10 thoughts on “It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas…..

  1. Beautiful Christmas cake!

    Posted by aroundtheworldin80bakes | October 8, 2012, 07:25
  2. beautiful Christmas cake! I’m planning to bake a Christmas pudding soon too

    Posted by aroundtheworldin80bakes | October 8, 2012, 07:26
  3. I think there’s been a decline in recent years of good home baking and especially Christmas cakes, thank heavens for bloggers like yourself, GBBO, and Baking Mad, let’s hope everyone gets the Christmas message, and the Christmas cake gets the revival it deserves.I’ll certainly be trying this recipe in the next few days. Thankyou.

    Posted by Gary Daniels | October 8, 2012, 08:11
    • Thanks Gary! You are definitely right though, I imagine most people would say that they do not have the time to make a Christmas cake, but it makes such a different when you have a homemade one to tuck into on Christmas day (and it has probably been one of my favourite things to bake!) Let me know how yours goes 🙂

      Posted by beesloveteas | October 8, 2012, 08:47
  4. What a fantastic blog.
    If cant use the ground almonds (alergies to nuts in family), should I replace them with extra flour or not replace them with anything.

    Posted by Ninder | October 18, 2012, 11:00
    • Thank you 🙂 You should be able to replace the ground almonds with plain flour, and perhaps add a tablespoon of extra butter just to add a little more richness (nut allergies in my family too so always having to think about it when baking!)

      Posted by beesloveteas | October 18, 2012, 12:05


  1. Pingback: Starry Night Cranberry Mince Pies « beesteas - November 25, 2012

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