If-we-knew-you-were-coming – Christmas cake Express.
Christmas cake, a rich, dense fruitcake, steeped in brandy, is typically baked weeks in advance of serving and is a wonderful standby for spontaneous holiday get-togethers. This year, time ran away from us, and ten days before Christmas, we found ourselves without a cake! We did a little research and constructed a delicious, slightly lighter fruitcake recipe that can be made the one day and eaten the next. Please note that this recipe has an overnight step. We hope you enjoy it!
- 1 stick butter, chunked
- 1½ cups raisins
- 1 cup golden raisins
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup dates, chopped
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup boiling water
- ¼ cup brandy
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs, whisked
- brandy or sherry
- Prepare the cake tin. Line an 8-inch cake tin (base and sides) with a layer of aluminum foil, shiny side out, and a double layer of parchment paper. Let the sides stand proud of the tin so that a foil ‘lid’ can be used to cover the cake during baking, to prevent it from becoming too dark.
- Combine the first ten ingredients in a large, heavy-based saucepan.
- While stirring, heat until the butter has melted.
- Add the boiling water and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Cover and set aside for 10 to 12 hours.
- Stir in the brandy.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt directly into the saucepan of fruit mix and partially fold in with a spatula.
- Add the eggs and mix until combined.
- Scoop into the prepared cake tin and bake at 300°F for 2-2½ hours, until done. After the first hour of baking, cover lightly with a perforated aluminum foil lid, shiny side out.
- Test with a skewer and remove from the oven when done.
- Leave the cake in the tin to cool.
- Turn out, sprinkle with a little brandy or sherry, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container.