With Bake Off now behind us and Christmas hurtling ever-closer, there’s never been a better time to indulge in a little festive baking. And while we’re lovers of all things sweet come Christmas time, you can’t beat a traditional Christmas cake.
To ensure your tipple-soaked Christmas cake is truly top-notch, it will need around 2 weeks to mature. So with this in mind, we caught up with our Head Chef, Damian, for his foolproof recipe and some top tips for getting the best from your bake.
For the Christmas cake, you will need…
For the cake
675g dark brown sugar
30g bicarbonate of soda
225g chopped walnuts
225g glacé cherries
Zest of 2 oranges
15g baking powder
60g mixed spice
For the covering
700g royal icing
3 tbsp apricot jam
- Add the butter, dark brown sugar, water, and bicarbonate of soda to a large pan and bring to the boil.
- Once simmering, turn down the heat and add the cognac and rum.
- Whilst the mixture is still warm, stir in the currants, sultanas, chopped walnuts, and glacé cherries. Grate in the zest of 2 oranges.
- Once cooled, stir in the 8 beaten eggs.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the mixed spice, before stirring together well.
- Cover the mixture and set it aside for 48 hours to allow the flavours to mature.
- Heat your oven to 180c, grease and line a round cake tin, and pour the mixture in.
- Cook for around 90 minutes. You’ll know that the cake is cooked if your skewer comes out clean.
- Leave your cake to mature for a further 2 weeks, feeding it every day with a small amount of alcohol of your choice.
- Leave your cake for a couple of days after the last feed to ensure it has dried out. Then, cover with a thin layer of apricot jam followed by a blanket of marzipan and royal icing.
Goes perfectly with…Damian’s mulled wine
The ultimate festive tipple. Sip on a glass (or two) whilst baking to get yourself in the festive spirit or enjoy with a slice of your finished cake for a wonderfully warming treat.
For the mulled wine
750ml good red wine (light in colour)
100g soft dark sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
Cognac (to serve)
- Stud the orange with the cloves.
- Add all the ingredients to a pan and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Pour into mugs and finish with a little cognac (a good serving is 100ml warm wine with 25ml cognac.
Watch this space for more festive recipes from Damian as we count down to Christmas!