Christmas Sherry Mincemeat Cake

If you've been meaning to make a Christmas cake but haven't got round to it, fear not – this one can be made at the last minute. In fact you could bake it on Christmas morning and it would be ready for tea in the afternoon. If possible, you need three days to pre-soak some of the ingredients in sherry, but if you have only three hours, that will do. There is also more good news: it's an all-in-one cake, which means everything can be thrown in the bowl together, mixed and then baked with hardly any effort at all. Results? One of the nicest Christmas cakes ever.

For the pre-soaking:

This recipe is taken from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection.

Christmas Sherry Mincemeat Cake
 1 x 411 g jar luxury mincemeat
 4 oz (110 g) ready-to-eat prunes, roughly chopped
 2 oz (50 g) glacé cherries, quartered
 6 oz (175 g) mixed dried fruits
 2 oz (50 g) whole candied peel, chopped
 5 fl oz (150 ml) Oloroso or other medium sherry
For the cake:
 8 oz (225 g) wholemeal flour
 3 level teaspoons baking powder
 5 oz (150 g) softened butter
 5 oz (150 g) dark brown soft sugar
 grated zest 1 small orange
 grated zest 1 small lemon
 2 oz (50 g) Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
 2 oz (50 g) mixed chopped nuts
 3 large eggs
For the topping:
 approximately 7 walnut halves, 18 pecan halves, 26 almonds, 23 whole Brazils (or any other mixture you like)
 1 heaped tablespoon sieved apricot jam
 1 tablespoon brandy
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C).
You will also need an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin, lightly oiled, the base and sides lined with silicone paper (baking parchment).


Begin the cake 3 days before you want to make it and simply place all the pre-soaking ingredients into a bowl, stir really well, then cover with a cloth and leave in a cool place.

When you are ready to make the cake, take a roomy bowl and simply place the soaked ingredients plus all the rest of the cake ingredients in it, all in one go.

Now, preferably using an electric hand whisk (or a wooden spoon), beat everything together as thoroughly as possible, which will probably take about 1 minute.

Then pour it into the prepared tin, level the top and arrange the whole nuts in rows across the surface – one row of Brazils, one of pecans, and so on.

Finally, cover the top of the cake with a double square of silicone paper (baking parchment) with a hole the size of a 50p piece cut in the centre. Then place the cake on the centre shelf of the oven and bake it for 2-2½ hours or until the centre springs back when lightly touched.

Then let it cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning it out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

The finishing touch is to heat the apricot jam and brandy together and brush the nuts with the mixture to give them a lovely glaze.

Store the cake in an airtight tin and it will keep beautifully moist for 3 to 4 weeks.

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