Grandma’s Christmas Cake, Part 2 – The Cake

This weekend I got around to baking my Christmas cake. The fruit had stopped absorbing any more brandy (see Part 1 for that stage) and it was looking plump and smelling delicious. I’m delighted that my cake cooked evenly and took on a lovely golden tone. I used gluten free flour and it appears to have held together perfectly. I find cakes cooked with gluten free flour can be a bit dry but given the amount of moisture in the fruit and also that it will be ‘fed’ with brandy between now and Christmas, I don’t think there’s much to worry about. I shall proceed with the recipe and the tips passed down to me from my Grandma, via my mum. Make sure you’ve got an old newspaper handy!

xmas cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of soaked fruit (keeping any excess brandy)
  • 2 oz of ground almonds
  • 10 oz of gluten free plain flour (or normal plain flour)
  • 6 oz of castor sugar
  • 0.25 tsp of mixed spice (I doubled all the spice quantities shown here because I love festive spices)
  • 0.25 tsp of cinnamon
  • 0.25 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • 0.25 tsp of sea salt
  • 8 oz of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • Brandy, to feed the cake after baking

Edit: if you’d like a deeper cake then use 1.5 times the cake ingredients whilst keeping the batch of fruit the same. There is still plenty of fruit there to give a fruity and delicious boozy cake!

Xmas cake

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line your cake tin with three sheets of newspaper and a layer of baking paper; this is important as it stops the outside of the cake cooking too quickly. Try to cut the corners in well, if using a square tin, as this will help your cake to look sharper when you come to ice it. You want to use a fairly large tin, mine was approximately 25 cm square, this made the cake about 6 cm deep. Go for a slightly smaller tin if you’d like a deeper cake.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. I used a handheld electric whisk to do this.
  3. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients (almonds, flour, spices and salt), mix well.
  4. Beat the eggs well and then add then bit by bit, in combination with the dry ingredients, to the butter and sugar mixture. Again, using an electric whisk.
  5. Pour any excess brandy from the fruit into the mixture and whisk this into it. You want a fairly stiff/thick mixture, so don’t add too much if you have a lot of liquid left. Hopefully you haven’t got a lot of un-absorbed brandy, as wasted brandy is a crime. Conversely, add more brandy if your mixture is too thick, but it should be fairly thick to support the weight of the fruit. Never add milk to the mixture.
  6. Fold the fruit into the cake mixture using a spatula, try to do this fairly gently, too keep some air in the mixture.
  7. Pour the cake mixture into the lined cake tin and spread the mixture evenly. Then, using your spatula create a shallow dip in the centre, this will help the cake to rise into a level/flat topped cake.
  8. Bake the cake for 1 hour at 150°C and then for a further 1-3 hours at 135°C. The cake is cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. I cooked my cake for a further hour only, even though the recipe suggests 2-3, as it was cooked by then. I imagine this recipe wasn’t written with fan ovens in mind as it gives temperatures in regulo and suggests you check your cake is cooked by inserting a knitting needle into it! It is definitely a recipe that has seen a few generations.
  9. Once your cake is cooked, leave it to cool for two hours in the tin.
  10. Once removed from the tin, let it cool completely.
  11. Use a skewer (or knitting needle!) to poke some small holes into the cake.
  12. Fill a small dish with a few tablespoons of brandy and then coat the top and sides of the cake with it, using a pastry brush. Gently pour any remaining brandy in the dish onto the cake. This is ‘feeding’ the cake and should be repeated every few weeks/month or so until winter (before icing), or until it can’t ‘eat’ anymore.
  13. Wrap in layers of cling film and tin foil. Store it in a safe location, do not refrigerate.
  14. The next installment will be marzipaning (definitely a word) and icing the cake. It’ll be a few months before that post though! Plenty of time for you to come up with some beautiful designs.
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2 thoughts on “Grandma’s Christmas Cake, Part 2 – The Cake

  1. Pingback: Grandma’s Christmas Cake Part 3- Icing the Cake. | Noisette

  2. Pingback: Christmas Cake – The Whole Story | Noisette

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