Classic Christmas Cake
This is my original Christmas cake from the first book – a combination of my grandmother’s, my mother’s and a few tweaks from me.
(There are more fruit cake recipes in our Christmas Cakes and Toppings collection here)
The Delia Online Cookery School: Another festive recipe is Christmas Stollen which you can watch being made in our video. Just click the recipe image to play.
This recipe is from Delia's Cakes. Scroll to the bottom of the Method to see questions Lindsey has answered on this recipe
You should get the pre-soaking ingredients ready the night before you make the cake.
Put all the fruits (see note at foot of method), in a bowl and mix them with the brandy, cover with a cloth and leave them to soak for a minimum of 12 hours.
When you’re ready to cook the cake, pre-heat the oven to 140°C, Gas mark 1. All Delia's recipes are tested thoroughly using conventional ovens. For fan-assisted ovens, if you are not able to switch off the fan function, we suggest you reduce the temperature by 20 degrees centrigrade, or check the manufacturer's handbook, although cannot guarantee the results in the same way we can for conventional ovens.
Now all you do is sift the flour, salt and spices into a very large roomy mixing bowl then add the sugar, eggs, treacle (warm it a little first to make it easier) and butter and beat with an electric hand whisk until everything is smooth and fluffy. Now gradually fold in the pre-soaked fruit mixture, chopped nuts and finally the grated lemon and orange zests. Next, using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin, spread it out evenly with the back of the spoon and, if you don’t intend to decorate the cake with marzipan and icing, lightly drop the blanched almonds in circles over the surface.
Finally take a double square of baking parchment with a 50p-sized hole in the centre (for extra protection during the cooking) and place this not on top of the mixture itself but on the rim of the brown paper. Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4 hours until it feels springy in the centre when lightly touched. Sometimes it can take 30–45 minutes longer than this, but in any case don’t look at it for 4 hours.
Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When it’s cold, ‘feed’ it by making small holes in the top and bottom with a cocktail stick and spooning in a couple of tablespoons of Armagnac or brandy, then wrap it in parchment-lined foil and store in an airtight tin. You can now ‘feed’ it at odd intervals until you need to ice or eat it.
Dried fruits: We have discovered a supplier who will provide everything you need with superb quality, for example pinhead currants, which are smaller and contain fewer seeds, Lexia raisins which are made from dried Muscat grapes, whole candied peels and many others.
Tel: 01423 358 858 www.countryproducts.co.uk
When you’re ready to cook the cake, pre-heat the oven to 140°C, Gas mark 1.
Using a fan-assisted oven? Click here
You will need a Delia Online 20cm Round Loose-based Cake Tin (or similar), greased, with base and side lined plus some baking parchment. Tie a double band of brown paper around the outside of the tin for extra protection
The Delia Online bakeware range is now available online, and you can buy our 20cm Round Loose-based Cake Tin plus washable and reusable liner (including wall liner) direct from Silverwood.
Click here for the tin
Click here for the liner pack
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More Christmas: Cakes, Icings and Toppings recipes
Do need to change any quantities or cooking times to make a square version?
Baking parchment clarification and brown paper question