We love a rich, fruity, spiced Christmas cake, but as I’ve said before, I’m just not organised enough to bake it weeks in advance then feed it every week. Happily, it’s very easy to make a lovely, moist cake this close to Christmas – if you get the chance to feed it a couple of times before you ice it, happy days. If not, it will still taste absolutely fine. I think that the trick is to use lovely plump, soft fruit, and get a bit of moisture into the dried fruit before you add it to the cake mix. This recipe gives the fruit a warm Christmassy bath of booze, honey and clementine juice, which makes all the difference to the finished cake. I used my fab new Kenwood Chef Elite (I’m completely obsessed) to make a really lovely light cake mixture to hold all that delicious fruit. This year, I decided to use my beloved Bundt tin as well – bit of a worry as I had no idea how long to cook it for – but with trial and error (and lots of poking and checking), we got there in the end. If you’ve got a tin, a Christmas Bundt cake looks striking, but I’ve left instructions for how to bake the cake using just a normal springform tin too.
Christmas Bundt cake
200g dried cranberries
100g glacé cherries
200g soft, dried apricots, chopped
4 tbsp honey
2 clementines, zest and juice
125ml Pedro Ximenez, sherry or similar
200g dark brown sugar
3 large free range eggs, beaten
200g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger and a grating of nutmeg)
Step 1: the boozy bath
Pop all the fruit into a large saucepan on a low heat, add in the honey, clementine zest and juice and the booze. Give it a stir and leave it to warm, stirring occasionally, while you weigh out your dry ingredients, butter the tin, etc. Then turn it off and leave it to cool a little.
Step 2: the cake mix
Whizz the butter until it’s creamy, then add in the sugar and mix again. The mixture should be paler in colour and look lovely and light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs, then add in the flour, ground almonds and spice.
Step 3: bring it all together
Pour the fruit mixture into the bowl and mix together. You can either do this with the mixer on low or just stir it all together with a wooden spoon.
If you have a Bundt tin, now’s the time to give it a really good spray with a good quality cake release spray, making sure you get into every single little crevice. Spoon in the mixture, making sure you fill all the little edgy bits and cook at 180 C/gas 4 for an hour, covering with foil if it gets too dark during cooking.
If you’re using a 20cm springform tin, make sure it’s buttered and lined with parchment paper.
I need to experiment with a slower, more gentle bake – I’ll come back to you on that one! You might find it takes a little less time to cook, so keep an eye on it.
Test by gently pressing on the top – it should spring back, and pushing a skewer or sharp knife into the centre of the cake. It should come out clean.
It does darken up considerably when it’s cooked. I don’t worry about it because it’s being covered in icing, but if you’re leaving it ‘naked’, you can always bake it covered in foil for the last half hour so it doesn’t darken too much.
This cake will keep beautifully now, well wrapped with baking paper, and then foil, until Christmas. If you want to, feel free to ‘feed’ it a couple of times by stabbing it with a cocktail stick and dribbling over a little sherry or brandy, but honestly, it’s a moist cake and it shouldn’t need it.
I just drizzled my cake with white icing, but if you’re up for a bit of decorating, see my instructions for icing your Christmas cake: the marzipan and fondant icing layers here. As usual, any problems give me a shout on here or on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll do my best to help!
Click here if you fancy finding the Kenwood Chef Elite KVC5100S (RRP £420) in your stocking this Christmas!