This traditional holiday recipe is something families all over Britain look forward to. Making these rich, moist and fruity Christmas Cakes in advance creates excitement about the upcoming festive season, with the scents of Schwartz Nutmeg Ground, Ginger Ground, Cinnamon Ground and Mixed Spice filling the kitchen.
Prep time 45 minutes
Cooking time 4 hours
275g (10oz) butter, softened
225g (8oz) soft brown sugar
6 medium eggs, beaten
275g (10oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp Schwartz Nutmeg Ground
2 tsp Schwartz Ginger Ground
1 tsp Schwartz Cinnamon Ground
1 tsp Schwartz Mixed Spice
100g (4oz) ground almonds
350g (12oz) currants
350g (12oz) raisins
350g (12oz) sultanas
175g (6oz) glace cherries, chopped
175g (6oz) mixed peel, chopped
50g (2oz) almonds, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 tbs brandy
1 tbs apricot jam
900g (1lbs) marzipan
900g (1lbs) fondant icing
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3. Grease and double line the base and sides of an 18cm (7") loose bottomed round cake tin.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour if necessary. Sift the remaining flour and spices together and fold into the mixture. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients and lemon and spoon into the prepared tin.
3. Smooth the surface of the cake and then make a dip in the centre. Take a strip of brown wrapping paper and wrap around the cake to form a collar. Secure with string and bake the cake in the oven for 1 hour.
4. Reduce the temperature to 140°C, 275°F, Gas Mark 1. Bake for a further 2½-3 hours. Cover the cake with greaseproof paper to prevent the top from over browning, if necessary.
5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before turning out of the tin. Peel away the lining paper and prick the base with a skewer. Pour the brandy over and then wrap in greaseproof paper and foil and store in an airtight container until ready to decorate.
6. When ready to decorate, carefully cut the cake into 4 even squares. Brush the individual cakes with warmed, sieved apricot jam and cover each with marzipan. Knead the fondant icing into 4 even balls and roll out each onto a lightly icing sugar covered surface. Brush the marzipan with a little brandy and lift the icing over each cake. Smooth well and trim each of the bases.
7. Decorate each cake with ribbon and baubles. Each cake makes a fantastic gift.
8. We recommend baking your Christmas cake in November and then storing until 1-2 weeks before Christmas, when you can decorate it. Remember that after decorating you should store the individual cakes in a non-airtight container to prevent the icing from going soggy.
9. We have decorated our cake with star and snowflake shapes cut out of fondant icing, finishing some of these with edible gold sparkle lustre. We finished off the cake with a gold ribbon around the edge.
For further mealtime inspiration and delicious recipes perfect for the festive season, visit www.schwartz.co.uk