It is true that I receive a lot of compliments on my Christmas Cake. Over the years, I have perfected the recipe and I feel the ONE secret is the fact that I cook it in a low very slow oven and then put Bundaberg rum over the top a few times before packing it away in foil in the cupboard for Christmas.
Of course you can make it at any time of the year – and I do make a modified version at times – but this version is kept especially for Christmas. I will put the modified version of my cake on my blog at some other time. Enjoy!
Tess’ Traditional Christmas Cake
**This mixture will fit into a 23 cm (9″) round or 20cm deep (8″) square cake tin lined with baking paper.
- 750 g (1-1/2 lb) sultanas
- 250g (8oz) raisins
- 125g (4oz) currants
- 10 chopped dates
- 125g(4oz) glace cherries and 125g of glace ginger
- 1/2 cup rum, brandy or sherry (I use rum)
- 250g (8oz) butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 teas grated orange rind; 1 teas grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons marmalade jam
- 1 teas vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups plain flour
- spices: 1 teas mixed spice, 1/4 teas cinnamon, 1/4 teas nutmeg, pinch salt.
- Chop any large pieces of fruit and put into a bowl; pour the alcohol over and mix well. Cover and stand for up to a three days.
- Cream butter and sugar, grated fruit rinds and vanilla, add marmalade
- Drop eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Fold in prepared fruit alternately with sifted dry ingredients, mix well
- Put mixture into lined tin and smooth top
- Bake in slow oven (300 F or 150 Celsius) for approx 4 hours ( the cake goes darker as it slowly cooks)
When the cake comes out of the oven, make small holes on top of cake with a skewer and pour 1 tablespoon of rum over the cake. Cover with aluminum foil immediately so top will stay soft. Continue to pour a tablespoon of rum over the cake twice more while still warm. When cold, remove from tin, wrap in aluminum foil and store in an airtight container for a least a month prior to Christmas.
You can decorate the top with icing if you wish but another alternative is to press whole almonds over the top of the cake before baking. Sometimes, I put lemon icing on the top and a frilly Christmas paper around the sides but more often than not, I leave it to stand on its own merits because it is such a fabulous cake.
Some hints that I have found useful:
- My oven seems hotter than most so I cook my cake on a little lower heat than recommended above, but you know your oven best so use discretion.
- Judge the consistency of the mixture before putting in the cake tin; if it seems too runny add more flour, if too thick add some extra rum
- If I have no marmalade and I am caught out I simply use apricot jam or lemon spread. You can leave it out altogether but you will have to make it up with something similar.
- Make sure the butter is soft enough to mix. I leave it at room temperature overnight if I’m baking it early in the day.