Christmas cake

    Makes 1 generous cake


    500 g currants

    500 g sultanas

    250 g raisins

    250 g candied peel

    250 g glacé cherries

    125 ml (1⁄2 cup) brandy

    250 g blanched or slivered almonds

    250 g (1 cup) butter, at room temperature

    300 g sugar

    5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence

    5 ml (1 tsp) almond essence

    4 extra-large eggs

    500 g cake flour

    15 ml (1 tbsp) ground mixed spice

    10 ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon

    pinch of salt

    125 ml (1⁄2 cup) marmalade or apricot jam

    5 ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 15 ml (1 Tbsp) milk


    1. Pour boiling water over all the fruit, drain and then soak in the brandy overnight.
    2. Preheat the oven to 160 °C.
    3. Grease and double line a large cake tin.
    4. Roast the almonds on a baking tray in the oven until just browned and then chop.
    5. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together well.
    6. Add the vanilla and almond essences and the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between.
    7. Sift in the flour, spices and salt and fold in.
    8. Mix in the marmalade or jam, fruit, brandy and nuts.
    9. Add the bicarbonate of soda and milk.
    10. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and cover with foil.
    11. Bake for 2 hours at 180 °C and then reduce the heat to 140 °C and bake for a further 4 hours.
    12. Allow to cool completely in the tin and store wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil.

    Christmas cake

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