English Christmas Cake

...or I can wait for a miracle for 7 weeks

Feb 24, 2019
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Preparation time:
1 h.
Cooking time:
3 h.
Servings:
2 cakes

This English Christmas cake is a rich, dense fruit cake made with dried fruits and nuts. Fruits are soaked in citrus juice and alcohol before baking. Once baked cake is wrapped into a baking paper and left to mature for at least a month. Once a week during this process the cake should be unwrapped and fed with more brandy. Yummy treat!

This recipe had waited in the wings for several years, but after I tried this cake, I understood that I would make this cake for sure one more time this year. The cake isn’t sugary, despite the amount of dried fruit, and isn’t dry, because it gets soaked in alcohol for several weeks. On the whole, it’s a very tasty cake, but I think that drivers shouldn’t abuse it :)

English Christmas Cake | Cook With ❤ Ingredients:
Dough:
  • 175 gr. butter, room temperature,
  • 175 gr. (7 tbsp.) sugar,
  • 1 ½ tbsp dark honey,
  • 3 eggs, room temperature,
  • 175 gr. (1 cup and 1 tbsp.) flour,
  • 35 gr. (3 tsp.) ground almonds,
  • ½ tbsp. baking powder.
Filling I (if you don’t like nuts):
Note: you’ll need spice only in a week, when the filling is ready.
English Christmas Cake | Cook With ❤
  • 200 gr. light raisins,
  • 200 gr. dark raisins,
  • 100 gr. dried figs,
  • 100 gr. prune,
  • 50 gr. dried cranberry,
  • 50 gr. dried apricots,
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice (about ½ orange),
  • 40 ml. (2-3 tbsp.) brandy or cognac,
  • ¾ tsp. ground ginger,
  • ¾ tsp. ground allspice,
  • ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg,
  • ¾ tsp. ground clove,
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon.
Filling II (if you like nuts):
Note: you’ll need spice only in a week, when the filling is ready.
English Christmas Cake | Cook With ❤
  • 140 gr. light raisins,
  • 140 gr. dark raisins,
  • 140 gr. dried cranberry,
  • 140 gr. dried figs,
  • 60 gr. candied fruit of different zest (I have orange one),
  • 40 gr. almonds,
  • 40 gr. pecan nuts or walnuts,
  • 1 lemon - finely grated zest and juice,
  • 3 tbsp. orange juice (about ¾ orange),
  • 75 ml. (5 tbsp.) brandy or cognac,
  • ¾ tbsp. ground clove,
  • ¾ tbsp. ground cinnamon.

Additionally: 5-10 tbsp. brandy for greasing the cake after baking.

Important:
  • I have slightly changed candied fruit, dried fruit and nuts, for example, in the original recipe there are candied cherries, which I changed to cranberries, and you can do it as well, but remember - the total mass of nuts and dried fruit should remain 700 gr.
  • Don’t use frozen or fresh fruit - the cake will not get baked through because of the large amount of liquid.
  • Be careful with the spice replacement, otherwise you may find out that several weeks of waiting for the yummy were in vain.
  • As a result, you’ll get two cakes, about 700 gr. each.
Process:
Filling:
English Christmas Cake | Cook With ❤
  • the large dried fruit and candied fruit should be cut equally in size,
  • cut the nuts in the size of raisins; if you use almonds, remove its skin; you’ll do it easier if you preliminary put the almonds in boiling water for 10 minutes,
  • put dried fruit, candied fruit, nuts and zest into a half liter jar and fill it with brandy and juice,
  • shake the jar twice a day during the week so that the fruit soak up evenly,
  • after a week the filling is done, but don’t try it otherwise nothing will be left for the cake.
Preparation (in a week once the filling is done):
  • preheat the oven to 140º C,
  • prepare 2 baking pans: grease the baking pans with butter and place parchment paper so that the edges of the paper extend above the lip of the baking dish 5 cm. at least,
  • it’s better to bake it on the grille, but if you don’t have it - use a baking tray, put a stack of newspapers on it so that the cake will not burn.
Dough (in a week once the filling is done):
  • in a big bowl stir butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy, if you use a blender - do it on the high speed,
  • add honey, continuing to whip, the mass will have a cream colour,
  • continuing to whip, add all the eggs one by one,
  • sift flour with baking powder, spices and ground almonds, if you use it,
  • carefully stir the flour mixture in the butter-egg cream, use a spatula for it,
  • put a small part of your dough aside, you’ll need it later,
  • add the fruit-nut filling into the bigger part of your dough and mix it,
  • put the dough with fruit into the baking pan, put the dough without fruit above it, smooth the top (you should do it so that the fruit and nuts don’t burn while baking).
Baking and waiting for a miracle:
English Christmas Cake | Cook With ❤
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  • put the baking pans with the cakes into the preheated oven,
  • after 1,5-2 hours cover it with foil so that the cake doesn’t burn,
  • bake 1,5-2 hours more, until a toothpick is clean when you stick it in the centre of the cake (in total the cake should be baked for 3-3,5 hours),
  • when the cakes are done, remove it from the oven and, while the cakes are still hot, grease it with brandy or cognac (it’s more comfortable to do it with a cooking brush),
  • wrap the cakes in the parchment paper and then wrap it in the foil, leave the cakes in the baking pan for a night,
  • in the morning get the cakes out of the baking pan, wrap it in the clean parchment paper, then tightly wrap the cakes in the foil and shrink-wrap it,
  • store the cakes in a dry, dark place at room temperature (20-25 ºC) for 6 weeks; yeah, 6 weeks, it’s not a typo! at least, 2 weeks, if you can’t wait,
  • once a week unwrap and grease the cakes with brandy or cognac, and then tightly wrap it again.

The process, of course, isn’t easy, but it is pre-soaked dried fruit and this weekly ritual that make the cakes so tasty. Just imagine: holiday rush, presents, Christmas trees, snow sparkling in the sun and the cakes, which wait for the holidays together with you, isn’t it a miracle?

English Christmas Cake | Cook With ❤