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Christmas cake: step-by-step in pictures

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Step-by-step Christmas cake

I have made many different types of Christmas cake but this is the most reliable. I made three cakes yesterday and this is how I did it.

It is a fairly simple recipe and contains no mixed peel or cherries because most of my family don’t like them. However, there is lots of grated orange and lemon zest and some marmalade (without peel – I promise I’m not sneaking it in!).
This amount is for a 20cm square tin or a 23cm round tin. I usually use a sqare tin because it makes the cake easier to cut.  The fruit needs to be soaked overnight, so the cake needs to be done over two days.

Christmas cake.

Cook cake until it is light golden brown on top and all the mixture is set. If you put in a cake tester or skewer it should come out without sticking.

I’ll do the icing in a few weeks.

You will need:

  • A 20cm square or 23cm round tin
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Tinfoil
  • An electric beater – handheld or standalone.

In theory you could cream the butter and sugar by hand but I’ve never done it. It is the creaming of the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy that stops the fruit from sinking. I use a Kenwood chef for this.

Ingredients

  • 770g sultanas
  • 300g raisins
  • 180g currants
  • 150ml brandy or sherry
  • 225g butter at room temperature (or 10 seconds in microwave)
  • 195g Light golden brown sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed)
  • 4 large freerange eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of orange marmalade with no peel
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt

Method

  • Put the sultanas, raisins and currants in a large bowl. Stir in the brandy or sherry and cover. Leave overnight.

  • Preheat your oven to 150C/gas mark 2 (text only version of instructions below). Please note, at low temperatures ovens vary considerably. So make sure your cake is light golden brown and skewer comes out clean before you remove it from the oven.

Christmas cake

Line the tin with a double layer of brown paper and then with greaseproof paper so that the papers comes up about 8cm above the rim of your tin.

Christmas cake

Put greaseproof paper over the brown paper.

Christmas cake

Cream the butter and sugar in a standalone mixer or with an electric beater until light and fluffy. This will take 4-5 minutes.

Use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.

Beat in the orange and lemon rind.

Christmas cake

While the mixer is running, crack an egg into a cup and add it to the mixture. When it is well mixed in, add the other eggs one at a time in the same way.

Christmas cake

Beat in the marmalade.

If you have used an electric mixer it probably won't be big enough for the next step, so move mixture to a large mixing bowl. Gently fold in fruit, flour and spices – about a quarter at a time.

Christmas cake.

Put the mixture into the tin.

Christmas cake

Smooth mixture down with the back of a spoon making sure to fill all the corners. If the paper is flopping down crease it back towards the cake - it will stop the cake burning.

Christmas cake.

Cook cake until it is light golden brown on top and all the mixture is set (don't unwrap until cold). If you put in a cake tester or skewer it should come out without sticking. Wrap cake in tin in foil and leave until completely cold. Remove all paper, then rewrap in fresh foil and clinfilm. Store in plastic bag, cake tin or plastic box.

  1. Line the tin with a double layer of brown paper and then with greaseproof paper so that the papers comes up about 8cm above the rim of your tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a standalone mixer or with an electric beater until light and fluffy. This will take 4-5 minutes.
  3. Beat in the orange and lemon rind.
  4. While the mixer is running, crack one of the eggs into a cup and add it to the mixture. When it is well mixed in add the other eggs one a time in the same way.
  5. Beat in the marmalade.
  6. After this there is no more beating but the ingredients are gently folded in. Your mixer bowl will probably not be large enough for the next step, so transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Weigh out the flour. To it add the mixed spice, cinnamon and grated nutmeg.
  8. With a large spoon, fold in about 1/4 of the flour and spices, together with the fruit, into the cake mixture. Repeat until all is mixed in.
  9. Bake for 3-31/2 hours until a cake tester comes out clean and without sticking. The cake should be light golden brown and all of the mixture on top should be set.
  10. Wrap the cake in the tin with tinfoil – tricky with a hot tin, but the idea is to keep the steam in until the cake is cold.
  11. When the cake is completely cold, remove all the papers and foil and rewrap in a double thickness of tinfoil, then clingfilm and then put it inside a plastic bag or in a cake tin or plastic food box.

Written by SOKNH

November 23, 2009 at 13:10