I wanted Christmas to be full of traditions when I had my own family and no better way than to bake a Christmas cake every year. I tend to get in the Christmas spirit of things quite early, like now for instance. So now is the time to get baking that Christmas Cake, for me this has become a tradition each October which started back in 2009.
That year I purchased the Women’s Weekly Christmas Cookery and Craft Special 2009. It featured lots of lovely recipes and at that time I was quite a novice baker but interested all the same. I wanted to make my own Christmas cake for the first time and the magazine featured a straight forward recipe for a Spiced Fruit Cake I believed I could follow. The ingredients list wasn’t mind bogglingly long like some recipes, nor were the instructions overly complicated. To my great relief, pride and joy the resulting cake I made tasted and looked amazing.
I recently contacted Women’s Weekly, who have kindly given me permission to publish their Spiced Fruit Cake recipe. Thank you Sue at Women’s Weekly for making this happen, I am truly grateful.
I’m now not so much a novice baker but quite experienced and I really enjoy finding new recipes. I recommend you take a look at http://www.womansweekly.co.uk for further inspiration. In addition this year they have published Women’s Weekly Best Ever Christmas Cakes, which contains some wonderful designs.
Spiced Fruit Cake
1kg packet dried mixed fruits
8 tablespoon rum
250g butter (softened)
250g dark muscavado sugar
300g plain flour
4 large eggs
1 level tablespoon ground allspice (or ground mixed spice for a traditional cake)
20cm round cake tin, lined with baking parchment (I also wrap the outside of the cake tin in brown paper to ensure the cake doesn’t burn on the edges)
1. Tip the dried fruit into a bowl and pour over 4 tablespoon of rum. Stir the fruit, cover the bowl and then leave the fruit overnight to absorb the rum.
2. Set the oven to Gas mark 2 or 150c (I set my oven to Fan 130c).
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then beat the in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour along with each egg. Fold in the remaining flour and ground allspice, then stir in the soaked fruit.
4. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and level the surface. Rub over the top of the cake with a wet hand to smooth the surface.
5. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted.
6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool for about 15 minutes, then spoon over the remaining rum. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
7. If the cake is not going to be decorated immediately, the wrap the cold cake in baking parchment and then foil. Store in a cool and airy place for up to 3 months.
I like to feed my cake every 2 weeks with 1 to 2 tablespoons of rum in the run up to Christmas.
How to decorate your cake
1kg white sugarpaste
1kg white marzipan
4 – 6 tablespoon apricot glaze
28cm round cake drum
1. Turn the cake upside down and place it in the centre of the cake drum.
2. Warm the apricot glaze and brush over the sides and top of the cake.
3. Knead the marzipan until soft and roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar until 5mm thick. Lift the marzipan over the cake and press it down making sure there are no air bubbles.
4. Trim away the excess marzipan.
5. Knead the white sugarpaste until soft and roll it out on a surface dusted with icing sugar until it is 5mm thick. Brush the cake with cool boiled water and lift the sugarpaste on top of the cake and pressing down on top and then the sides to ease it in place. Make sure there are no air bubbles.
6. Trim away the excess sugarpaste.
7. The cake is now ready to decorate with your choice of festive decorations. I quite like the pastel blue and white snow flakes on my cake in 2010 or you could go a bit more traditional with holly like my 2012 cake. Festive cutters in the shape of holly and snowflakes along with coloured sugarpaste are readily available online or in your local cake decorating shop.
I hope you are inspired. This recipe is really easy so if you have never made a Christmas cake before, now is definitely the time to try. So get baking! Let me know how you get on.
Thank you once again at Women’s Weekly for allowing me to publish your fabulous recipe.