Juliet Sear's Christmas cake

It’s already that time of year again! With just 41 days to go Juliet Sear’s in the kitchen to help you make the ultimate Christmas cake.

Ingredients:

300 g natural-colour glacé cherries, washed and halved

240 g sultanas

360 g raisins

360 g currants

100 g mixed peel

40g glace ginger (or finely chopped stem ginger if you have trouble getting hold of it)

200 g salted butter

200 g molasses sugar

200 g plain flour

4 medium free range eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

160 ml brandy, plus more to feed (about 6–10 tablespoons, to taste)

70 ml vodka

Method:

Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F/Gas 1).

Grease, base and side line an 8” round solid base cake tin (min 3” depth)

  • Place the dried fruit, peel and glace ginger into a large bowl big enough to hold the entire mix and mix together with a large wooden spoon.


  • Place the butter and sugar in a small, microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute at a time, stirring with a whisk at each interval, to mix the butter and sugar together. If you don’t have a microwave, do this in a non-stick pan over a low heat and melt gently.


  • Beat the eggs together with the vanilla extract.


  • Add the spices to your flour and mix well with a metal spoon or whisk to disperse

  • Add the spiced flour to the fruit and toss over with your hands to mix through


  • Tip the warm butter and sugar mix into the large bowl of fruit and mix well. Add the beaten egg and mix well. Finally add your brandy and vodka.


  • Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour, then turn the heat down to 125°C (250°F/Gas 1/2) and continue to bake until completely cooked through. This will take approximately 2–2 ½ hours, depending on your oven. Check that a sharp knife or a skewer comes out almost clean.

  • Whist still hot, spike all over the cake with a skewer to make holes and pour over more brandy to soak the cake.


  • Once cooled, double wrap in parchment and then wrap in strong foil. You can eat this after a week but ideally make a few weeks before you need it, and you can store it in a cool dry place for up to a year, feeding with extra brandy if you wish on occasion.