Mulled Wine Fruit and Nut Christmas Cake: Make-Ahead Fruitcake

Recipe by French Tart
READY IN: 48hrs 1min
SERVES: 12
YIELD: 12 slices
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition

DIRECTIONS

  • 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!