Christmas cake recipes.. We have put a selection of our best cake recipes for you to enjoy.
500 g (1lb 2oz) sultanas
400 g (14oz) raisins
150 g (5oz) each Agen prunes and dried figs, roughly chopped
200 g (7oz) dried apricots, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
200 ml (1/3 pint) hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur (£11.65 for 5cl (50ml), Waitrose), plus extra for drizzling
250 g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
150 g (5oz) each dark muscovado and light brown soft sugar
200 g (7oz) plain flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs, beaten
100 g (3½oz) toasted, blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
40 g (1½oz) toasted pine nuts
Put the fruit in a non-metallic bowl and stir in the orange zest and juice and hazelnut liqueur. Cover and leave to soak overnight or, preferably, up to three days.
Preheat oven to 140° (120°C fan) mark 1. Grease and double-line a 23cm (9in) cake tin with greaseproof paper, making sure the paper comes at least 5cm (2in) above the top of the tin. Then wrap a double layer of greaseproof paper around the outside of the tin, securing with string – this will stop the cake burning.
Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy – this should take about 5min.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, spices and a pinch of salt. Beat 2tbsp of the flour mix into the butter and sugar then gradually add the eggs, making sure the mixture doesn’t curdle. If it looks as if it might be about to, add a little more flour.
Fold the remaining flour into the mixture with a large metal spoon, followed by the soaked fruit and nuts. Tip into the prepared tin and level the surface. Using the end of the spoon, make a hole in the centre of the mix, going right down to the base of the tin – this will stop the top of the cake rising into a dome shape as it cooks. Bake for 4hr or until a skewer comes out clean. Cover with foil if it is browning too quickly. Leave to cool in the tin for 10min, then take out and cool on a wire rack, keeping the greaseproof paper wrapped around the outside of the cake.
To store, leave the cold cake in its greaseproof paper. Wrap a few layers of clingfilm around it, then cover with foil. Store in a cool place in an airtight container. After two weeks, unwrap the cake, prick all over and pour over 1tbsp of brandy or hazelnut liqueur. Rewrap and store as before.