Uploaded on Aug 1, 2011
Quick, Simple & Tasty - Try it! Recipe Here...
350g - Chopped Dried Soft Prunes
250g - Raisins
25g - Currants
175ml - Honey
125ml - Tia Maria or similar favourite
2 Oranges - Zest & Juiced (I use less, 2 can make it soggy & too orangey)
1 teaspoon - Mixed Spice
2 tablespoons - Good Quality Cocoa
175g - Softened Unsalted Butter
175g - Dark Muscovado Sugar
3 - Free-Range Eggs, Beaten
150g - Plain flour
75g - Ground Almonds
1/2 teaspoon - Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon - Baking Soda
Try a square tin, it's easier to cut the slices.
300 Degrees F/ 150 Degrees C for around 2 hours.
You can slightly alter the flavour elements of this recipe, it's quite forgiving, just keep the quantities about the same to avoid issues.
To protect the top of the cake from burning even further, you can insert a disk of greaseproof paper in the top, make it a little larger than the tin, snip it a cm or so around the edges, and it will happily hover above the cake - as long as your oven is not too hot and you don't forget the cake's in the oven, this shouldn't be necessary.
Heat the mixture until it reaches a very gentle boil (remember lots of delicate ingredients in there), stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes; remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
After around 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little, now add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and baking soda, mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.
Then carefully pour the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake tin. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for around 2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm. If you insert a sharp knife into the middle of the cake whilst it's warm, depending on how wet you made the mixture, with more or less orange juice, the knife will not come away clean like usual; so it does require some nerve the first time you make it to say, 'Yes, it's cooked' ;-)
I don't like Nigella's decoration, you could try this...
Mix a super thick white/ royal icing, so that it doesn't want to run at all, thickly paste all over the top then slightly scrape it down the sides, not all the way, and if you get it right it looks a little like icicles on the side of a house. Then roll out some marzipan, cut out small & large stars, paint them gold if you like (cake shop item), and attach as you like, bending over the edge of the cake too. It gives you the classic taste, but looks really fun & modern.
I've never eaten classic English Christmas cake, it looks wonderful, especially when heavily decorated, but the flavours are just too strong & almost bitter (depending on the recipe) I much prefer a sweeter treat.
I've always felt that I've been missing out though, it does look so festive, then along comes Ms Lawson, with her modern, magical wand, and hey presto, I can eat Christmas cake ;-) Some people call this her chocolate Christmas cake, which it isn't really, the classic recipe doesn't have that much chocolate, but is lovely & subtle, you could add more, but be careful; I do add more Tia Maria, and let the fruit steep at least over night.
I've served this at a couple of afternoon Christmas parties, with all ages in attendance, and it went down a treat, with almost nothing left at the end! The only difference is that I decorate it completely differently. Nigella's is totally impractical, the gold balls & coffee beans just go all over the place, and actually don't look that good; also a lot of people don't like glitter on food, regardless of whether it's edible or not.
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