Here’s a classic fruit cake which I reluctantly refer to as a Christmas Cake, as it seems a shame to restrict beautiful food to a particular time of year, religion and belief :o)
Albeit an incredibly delicious cake, the joy of this is all in the making for me; the family can all get involved in the various steps of the process and feel equally proud of the results – there’s always going to be plenty to go round, and more than enough to share with friends and family. I was so chuffed at how well received it was this year.
This recipe is lifted from Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, his latest (and potentially greatest) book to date. Developed from refinements on classic recipes and innovative twists over nearly two decades, it certainly won’t be gathering any dust on my shelf.
My 5-year-old daughter, Winter, was particularly keen to get involved with this bake and I found myself having to reel her in at times so I had a moment to pause and think before crashing ahead. #SuperKeenBean
- 75g dates
- 75g prunes
- 100 glace cherries
- 400g mixed dried fruit
- 1 apple
- 100ml stout or porter
- 1 clementine, zest and juice
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g soft light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 200ml milk
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- Find yourself a 20cm square cake tin, grease it with butter and line it with greaseproof paper.
- Roughly chop the dried fruit in a food processor and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Grate in the apple, add the stout, clementine juice and zest, and set aside.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then mix in the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk, a little at a time.
- Combine the two mixtures and then sift in the flour, spices, baking powder and cocoa, folding everything together.
- Pour the cake mixture into the lined tin and bake for 2 hours at 150°C.
- Allow the cake to rest in the tin for 30 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
- You can finish the cake however you like – you may want to just eat it like that – but we chose to coat it in a thin layer of apricot jam followed by marzipan and finally a fairly thin layer of royal icing.
Little hands working hard to roll out the royal icing on a sprinkling of icing sugar.
We used a simple Scandinavian (Ikea!) cookie cutter to stick mini sugar pearls to the cake with a dab of water.
The finished ‘Festive Cake’:
(Note to self – steady on the royal icing).