85g(½ cup) ground almonds (coarsely ground - not the type that is like flour)
3large eggslightly whisked
200g(1 + ⅔ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
1tspground mixed spice
To feed the cake:
Cherry brandy (1-2 tbsp per week)
Take a large saucepan pan and add the butter, sugar, dried mixed fruit, glacé cherries, cranberries, orange & lemon zest and juice and all but 4 tbsp of the cherry brandy.
Heat on a medium heat until the mixture comes to a gently bubble, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F and line a 23cm (9inch) spring-form round cake tin (with a removable base) with baking parchment (I find it's easier to line the sides first so they're about 2" above the cake tin, then cut out a circle for the base and push it in).
Add the ground almonds into the slightly cooled fruit mixture and mix, then stir in the eggs.
Add the flour, baking powder and spices and fold together until everything is just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth flat with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 45 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140C/275F and cook for a further 1-1+½ hours, until the cake is dark brown on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean (note: if you're using a gas oven, the cake may take 15-30 minutes longer to cook). Cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken too much.
Take out of the oven, and whilst it's still hot, use a skewer to make about 10-12 holes all over the cake.
Pour the 4tbsp cherry brandy all over the top of the cake.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin. then remove it and wrap in a double layer of baking parchment and then in a double layer of foil. Place in an air tight container at room temperature.
Feed with 1-2 tbsp cherry brandy once a week up until a few days before you marzipan and ice the cake.
My recipe for Christmas cake is adapted from the BBC Good Food website. I tried this method of making it about 9 years ago and I've stuck to it ever since. I make a few changes, and the result is a lovely, fruity, moist cake.
How to store a Christmas cake?
Wrap the cake tightly in a double layer of baking parchment (greaseproof paper) and a double layer of foil, then place in an airtight container, in a cupboard (away from sunlight) at room temperature. Unwrap and feed with a tablespoon of alcohol once a week, then wrap again and store in the same way.
How long will it keep?
If stored properly (see above), an un-iced fruit Christmas cake should keep well for 4-5 months at room temperature.You can also freeze the un-iced wrapped cake for up to a year. Defrost the cake, and ensure it comes to room temperature before decorating and/or eating.Nutritional information is per serving.