Juliet Sear's classic Christmas cake
No Christmas is complete without a classic Christmas cake, but how early should you start making it? Well, there's a long custom of making Christmas cakes months in advance of the big day. With 38 days to go, Juliet’s here to share her top tips, as well as a traditionally tasty recipe filled with fruit and soaked in brandy.
Classic Christmas Cake
300g glacé cherries, washed and halved250g sultanas350g raisins350g currants100g mixed peel60g glacé ginger (or finely chopped stem ginger)200g salted butter200g molasses sugar4 medium free range eggs2 tsp vanilla extract200g plain flour1 tsp ground cinnamon1 tsp ground ginger½ tsp ground nutmegA Pinch of ground cloves½ tsp mixed spice160ml brandy, plus more to soak the cake (approximately 100ml)75ml vodka
1. Once all the above ingredients are weighed out and prepped, preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F/Gas 1) and grease and line the base and side of an 8” round solid base cake tin (min 3” depth).2. Place all the dried fruit, mixed peel and glacé ginger into a large bowl and mix.3. 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 until melted together. Or melt in a saucepan over a low heat.4. Beat the eggs together with the vanilla extract.5. Mix together the spices and flour, then add to the fruit and mix.6. Tip the warm butter and sugar mix into the fruit and mix well. Add the beaten egg and mix well again. Finally add the 160ml brandy and vodka to the mixture and stir. 7. Pop 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.8. Whilst still hot, spike all over the cake with a skewer and pour over more brandy to soak the cake.9. Once completely cooled, double wrap the cake in parchment and then wrap in strong foil. You can eat this after a week but ideally make it a few weeks before you need it, or a few months would be even better. It can store in a cool dry place for up to a year, feeding with extra brandy if you wish on occasion.10. Decorate as desired.