Christmas cake (Part 1)

I am not a fan of store-bought Christmas cake or pudding. Or mince-pies. Since we are celebrating Christmas in our new home for the first time, I decided to bake a Christmas cake.  My boss recommended Nigella’s recipe, which I found online. I wanted to surprise Hubby with my idea, which is why I shopped for the ingredients before I went home.  Hubby was keen to help, so on the Friday night I measured out the ingredients in a bowl, while Hubby poured brandy onto the fruit and left it to soak overnight.  There was no lie-in to be had on the Saturday morning. I was like a kid on Christmas morning, excited to get on with baking the cake.  The recipe is not complicated. The bulk of the time was spent waiting for the cake to cook!

Here is the recipe for a 225g cake:


  • 700g sultanas
  • 225g raisins
  • 110g currants
  • 110g gracé cherries
  • 110g mixed peel
  • 120ml brandy
  • 195g brown sugar (I used light brown)
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp marmalade
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • a pinch of salt
  • 9 ” round springform


  1. Mix all the fruit in a large bowl with the brandy. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight
  2. The next day, pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees
  3. Line the base and sides of the springform pan with triple layers of baking paper. The top of the paper should be at least 10cm from the rim of the pan
  4. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time
  5. Mix in the lemon and orange zest, followed by the marmalade
  6. In a separate bowl, mix in the dry ingredients: flour, mixed spice, ground cinnamon, salt and nutmeg
  7. Mix the alcohol soaked fruits into the wet ingredients (butter, eggs), alternating with the dry ingredients
  8. Finally add the almond essence into the cake mixture
  9. Transfer the cake mixture into the springform
  10. Bake in the oven for 3 hours (I took mine at after 2 hours and 45 minutes. It was cooked  beautifully)
  11. Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and brush some brandy on top of the cake to keep it soft
  12. Cover with double foil and leave to cool
  13. Once cool, wrap in a few layers of foil and keep in an airtight container (I don’t have one, so stashed it in a cupboard)

I will top the cake with marzipan around 18th December, which would give the marzipan layer a few days to dry out before we ice the cake and decorate it in time for Christmas.


6 thoughts on “Christmas cake (Part 1)

  1. Well done, it looks lovely.

    I use my own version of Nigella’s non-conformist pudding and have been getting rave reviews since I started the tradition a few years back. So much better than bought!

    But… I haven’t made mine yet for this year! It is on my list of things-to-do this week, and the list is getting a bit scary.

    • I unwrapped the cake today and ‘fed’ it some brandy’. It smelt lovely (cake, not brandy) 🙂 There’s still time to make the cake, and yes, definitely a nice tradition to have.

      • There’s still time, yes, but making the pudding is enough work for me – won’t be tackling a cake as well this year although I had such good intentions earlier on! Luckily I can eat vicariously through yours 🙂

        Well done on resisting the urge to feed yourself cake while feeding the cake brandy.

      • It does seem like a lot of work, and I know there will be plenty of cake and pudding leftover. I might just freeze them and serve up again at Christmas next year.
        I am not a big fruitcake fan, which is why the cake is safe until Christmas 🙂

  2. Pingback: Christmas cake (Part 2) « Chronicles of a cookbookworm

  3. Pingback: Christmas cake (Part 3) « Chronicles of a cookbookworm

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