I couldn’t care less for glace cherries even if they were on atop a cliff edge screaming for help. And yes, I like a raisin now and then and enjoy the odd sultana but I do find the swathes in which they grace a traditional Christmas Cake just a bit too much, even if Christmas is a time for excess.
Around about now you might think that I’ve lost my Christmas spirit but I’ve not departed too much from tradition with this recipe, which is loosely based on Nigella’s, here, I’ve just employed my favourite pudding team members, dates, cinnamon and ginger, to shake things up a bit. Fear not, it’s still boozy.
To make a 23cm cake
- 300g dates, de-stoned and chopped up
- 300g currants
- 300g raisins
- 400ml brandy
- 200g glace ginger
- 180g brown sugar
- 300g butter
- 2 tablespoons black treacle
- 1 teaspoon almond essence
- 4 large eggs
- 150g ground almonds
- 150g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ grated nutmeg
- 300g plain flour
- Zest of a lemon and orange
Put the dried fruit and glace ginger in pan with the brandy and heat until boiling then cover and leave to cool overnight.
The next day, grease and line your cake tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Cream the butter and the sugar together then add in the eggs, one by one.
When the mixture is relatively smooth, add in the almond essence, black treacle, mix then add the dry ingredients, starting with the nuts and spices, zest and then finally, the flour.
Mix well then add the fruit. Mix again and put it into the tin and bake for 2 ¾ hours (and up to 3 ¼ hours) until you have a clean skewer.
Don’t panic if your cake is cracked when it comes out, these cracks will close up over time. Leave the cake to cool for around 30 minutes in the tin, then wrap up in parchment and foil and seal in a Tupperware box. Leave for 3 to 5 weeks for the flavour to improve.