This is one of my favourite Christmas cake recipes & is usually the one I end up making. It is a make-ahead cake which gets better for maturing a while. It's very fruity & has a delectable mulled wine taste to it - the nuts make it a very special cake too. I don't usually marzipan or ice this cake, although I have done when under pressure from my family - who want a "Traditional Cake with all the little Father Christmas figures & Robins on top!!!" It is nice with a fruit and nut glazed topping - as well as just being served plain with a festive frill around it! I will post more photos when I have decided how I am going to decorate it this year!
TWO DAYS BEFORE
- 18 fluid ounces ruby port
1 mulled wine bag made with
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cloves
- 1 nutmeg
- 1 orange, zest of, strips
- 7 ounces sultanas
- 7 ounces currants
- 7 ounces raisins
- 8 ounces ready to eat prunes, chopped
- 4 ounces sliced almonds
- 4 ounces glace cherries, quartered
- 4 ounces mixed peel
THE DAY YOU BAKE
- 8 ounces softened butter
- 8 ounces soft brown sugar
- 4 organic eggs, beaten
- 9 ounces plain flour
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 orange, zest of, grated
- TWO DAYS BEFORE YOU BAKE:.
- Gently heat up the port with the strips of orange peel & all the mulled wine spices tied up in a muslin or cloth bag; you will need a large roomy saucepan as you will be adding the fruit to it later.
- Bring it to the boil and then take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Add all the fruit, prunes, peel & nuts to the mulled wine port mixture, stir it well and cover with a lid.
- Leave at room temperature, unless you live in a very hot climate in which case you will need to refrigerate it, for 2 days. I have left this for up to 4 days with no adverse effects!
- THE DAY YOU BAKE THE CAKE:.
- Pre-heat oven to 160 C or 320°F.
- Grease and double line with bakng paper/parchment a loose bottom deep cake tin; I used a 8" diameter round tin with high sides.
- Wrap the outside of the cake tin with a double layer of brown paper or baking paper/parchment & tie with string - it stops the cake browning too quickly or too much and IS worth the effort!
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light & fluffy.
- Add the flour bit by bit with the beaten eggs gradually - mix well in between each flour & egg addition. This stops it curdling.
- Drain the fruit & nuts - any excess port can be kept for future soakings! Discard the mulled wine bag & the strips of orange peel.
- Add the fruit and nuts to the cake mixture & mix well.
- Add the spices along with the grated peel of one orange and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Spoon the the cake mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
- Make a slight dip in the middle to allow for rising unevenly.
- Bake for 30 minutes and then turn the oven down to 150 C or 300 F and bake for a further 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
- Remove from the tin and keep stored in an airtight container - well wrapped in the baking paper/parchment until Christmas.
- Decorate it with traditional marzipan & icing or a fruit and nut glaze - OR just remove from the paper, decorate with a frill and serve it from an attractive cake platter!
- In Yorkshire where I come from, we would eat a slice of Christmas cake with a slice of Wensleydale Cheese!