Christmas Cake

12/15/2009 10:12:00 PM

Ladies and gentlemen... may I present my Christmas cake, in all its dense, fruity glory. Please notice the glorious chunks of nuts, the array of dried fruits, and the moist-yet-crumbly texture.

This year my Christmas baking started early. I made this cake a month ago, and have since been feeding it with rum every once a week. At first, I wasn't sure which Christmas cake to bake - I have previously enjoyed Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake, her Marzipan Fruit Cake, or my mum's wonderful Golden Fruit Cake. And y'all know I have a million Christmassy cookbooks vying for my attention. In the end, I chose Nigel Slater's Christmas Cake, from his Kitchen Diaries book. Apparently, this is his standard, bake-every-year Christmas cake. If it's good enough for Nigel...

The cake starts with a wonderfully caramel-coloured base of creamed butter and muscovado sugars. There is no need to soak the fruits beforehand, all you do is chop them and add to the batter.

There are a wide variety of fruits in this cake - prunes, apricots, figs, candied peel, glacé cherries, raisins, sultanas, currents and cranberries! Interesting additions are ground almonds and whole, shelled hazelnuts. Nigel suggests icing it with either marzipan or a snowdrift icing of eggwhite and golden unrefined icing sugar. Iced Christmas cakes look so pretty, and I always mean to ice mine (I even have the ready-to-roll icing in my pantry!) However, I hate the taste of this icing, and I can never bring myself to cover my fruit cakes with it. Maybe one year I will be braver.

Instead, I covered the top of the cake with almonds, Dundee-Cake style.

The recipe makes quite a large amount of batter, so I made some individual mini Christmas Cakes too.

I tried one as soon as it came out of the oven, and it was reasonably light, despite all the fruit. With the rest of the cakes, I let them cool, drizzled with brandy and wrapped well. Each week I've been feeding the cakes with a spoonful of brandy.

I've been giving away the mini cakes as gifts when I've been going to friends' places for Christmas parties, but it wasn't until Sunday that I tasted some matured cake for myself. We had some old family friends over for afternoon tea, and unveiled the cake (as well as some mince pies and petits sablés - but those are a story for another post).

During the maturation time, the cake seems to have become slightly darker, and the flavour developed quite a bit. It was delectably moist, and I loved the crunch provided by the nuts and dried figs. The cake was quite crumbly, so it was difficult to slice thinly (our guests thought big pieces of fruit cake might be too rich for them!). Perhaps baking it in a square tin would make it easier to cut smaller pieces. For me though, no such delicate slices are required - give me a thick slab and a big mug of tea any day.

We've got about a third of the cake left, which will probably be polished off over the next couple of weeks. Lucky me.

It is a fabulous recipe - I think this will be my go-to-Christmas Cake from now on!

You Might Also Like


  1. Your cake looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. you are so organise!!! I haven't even send out any x'mas cards *faint*

  3. ooOoOo it looks so deliciously fruity! My aunty decorates her cakes the same way. She has already make about 25 full sized cakes. :P

  4. those mini cakes are adorable!

  5. Gosh...! That is a beautiful cake.

  6. Mmmm the cake looks great. I might give this a try soon, even if it's not Christmas anymore.



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.