This is basically the same recipe as my heirloom personalised Christmas cake recipe, but without all the waffle. If you want to know more about ingredients or if you have any questions about lining tins or what booze to use, etc, do check it out. If, however, you want a nice, easy step by step recipe to follow, then read on.
I made my Christmas cake completely organic, as I’m taking part in the #thriftyorganic challenge this week, which is actually pretty easy to do. You can find organic port and brandy quite easily – and Steenbergs do all sorts of organic ingredients, including spices.
You will need:
800g dried fruit (sultanas, dried cranberries, apricots – whatever you like)
175ml good quality rapeseed oil or 200g butter
200g dark brown sugar
4 tbsp honey
120ml sherry, or brandy, or anything with some warm flavours. I used organic spiced rum.
120ml orange juice (or two fresh oranges, juiced)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
Grating of nutmeg
200g self raising flour (or 300g flour and omit ground almonds).
100g ground almonds
Firstly, preheat the oven to gas 2/150 C and assemble everything you need: crack the eggs and mix them and line the bottom of your cake tin/tins with parchment paper, and up the sides too. If you’re using larger pieces of dried fruit like apricots or figs, make sure you’ve chopped them into roughly sultana-sized pieces.
Next, put all the dried fruit into a big saucepan and add in the butter, sugar, honey, treacle, sherry, fruit juice and spice. Stir it all together and heat gently until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Take it off the heat and leave it to cool. You don’t want to scramble the eggs when you add them in.
When cooled, stir in the eggs, flour and ground almonds. Pile into one large lined springform tin, or two smaller ones and bake for about an hour and a half for the two small ones, or up to two hours for the large.
Test by pushing a skewer into the centre of the cake. It should come out clean.
As it’s quite a dark mixture, it does darken up considerably when it’s cooked. I don’t worry about it because it’s being covered in marzipan and icing, but if you’re leaving it ‘naked’, you can always bake it covered in foil so it doesn’t darken too much.
Cover the cake(s) in foil while they cool to stop the tops going hard. Then, when completely cool, wrap in fresh parchment paper and then foil, and stash somewhere in a tin. Occasionally unwrap, stab with a cocktail stick and slosh with a couple of tablespoons of your chosen booze. Or just eat straight away.