How to make a perfect Christmas cake?
Feeling traditional for this coming Christmas? Why not try to bake your family a fruit cake that they will surely love? If you have never tried baking one before, this tutorial will be the best for you.
We all know that Christmas season has countless traditions anywhere around the world. This is the season where we got to reunite with our loved ones. All the food that we dine and serve on the table for Christmas is usually the most special food we could offer them. In other country’s tradition, baking a Christmas cake for this big occasion is so natural and is actually a part of their eating experience on Christmas Eve.
Christmas cake is a type of fruit cake that is packed with dried fruits and nuts covered with delicious icing. In many household, this cake is usually served as a centerpiece for their table. This fruit cake is usually made three weeks or even months before Christmas because it is tastier that way.
For those who do not know yet how to make this fruit cake, don’t you worry folks! Because I have a solution for your problem. Actually, it is just simple. You just need to follow the steps I included in this tutorial and I promise you, you will not be disappointed because your effort will pay off and after this, you can make a mouth-watering Christmas cake perfect for your Christmas Eve!
What do you need in baking a delicious Christmas cake?
The Christmas cake that you’ll be baking should be rich, tasty, and spicy; overflowing with delicious fruits but never, ever weighty. It is a fruit cake so most of its ingredients are fruits usually, prunes and berries. However, you can try out different ingredient mixtures, but you should keep in mind that the ratio of the flour and the fruits that you’ll be using should still be the same.
These are the ingredients you need to make the cake:
- 1lb or 450g raisins
- One orange
- 1lb or 450g currents
- One lemon
- 2oz or 50g flaked almonds
- 8floz or 225ml of whiskey
- 7 oz or 200g glacé cherries
- 10 oz or 280g light brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 14 oz or 400 g plain flour
- 6oz or 170g mixed candied peel
- ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
- A pinch of ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 10 oz or 280g margarine or butter
- 2oz or 50g walnut pieces
- 1lb or 450g sultanas
- 3 cooking apples
- 4oz or 110g of ground almonds
After preparing all the necessary ingredients for your Christmas cake, you are now ready to bake it! You just need to follow these easy steps:
STEP 1: Marinate the ingredients
Separate these ingredients
- Glacé cherries
- Mixture of candied peel
Firstly, you should mix the sultanas, currants, and raisins in one bowl. Secondly, grate the peel of the oranges and lemons then add to the mixture. Next, you should slice the sweet cherries into halves and add to the mixture as well. After that, you should extract the juice both from the orange and the lemon into the mixture. Then you can finally mix the whiskey thoroughly. After which, leave the mixture in the refrigerator for it to marinate. Usually, the marinating process takes for about 24 hours.
STEP 2: Prepare the cake tin
After 24 hours of marinating the fruit mixture, you can now be prepared to finish setting all the mixtures to bake your Christmas cake.
But before that, you should pre-heat your oven to three hundred degrees 300(°F) or at Hundred Fifty degrees 150 (C°) or in Gas mark number 2. Grease and line an 8-inch cake tin with 2 layers of greaseproof baking paper. One important tip that I can share with you is that you should make the paper come up above the cake tin by at least 8 inches. This tip will be a great help because it will prevent the edges of your cake from burning while its center is being cooked
STEP 3: Mix the ingredients
In a large bowl, place the sugar and butter then mix it well until it gets fluffy. Next, put the flour on the mixture and mix it. Gradually beat in the eggs into the mixture. After that, mix very well all the ingredients that you put into the bowl.
The next thing that you should do is get your marinated fruit mixture and slowly add it in the large bowl. Then mix well the mixture. After ensuring that all the ingredients are mixed properly, you can now add the soaked fruits, and if you have any remaining whiskey you can put it as well, the lemon or orange zest, chopped almonds, walnut pieces, and stir thoroughly.
STEP 4: Tip mixture into the tin
Tip your created mixture into your prepared tin and smoothen the surface of it using a wooden spoon or a spatula. You should also consider leveling the surface of your cake, to make it more presentable when you serve it. Anyways, another tip that you might consider doing is scooping out a tiny hollow in the center of your cake. This tip is essential to prevent doming effect when you are baking.
STEP 5: Baking
Bake it for approximately four to five hours depending on the oven you use. At approximately 3 hours, check your cake, cover its surface with paper should be grease proof, and then cut a triangular hole in the middle. This will stop the top of your cake from getting overcooked. To check whether your cake is cooked or not, get a piece of it using a fine skewer. If the piece you got comes out without blemishes, then your cake is ready to be served. If it is not, cook it a bit more. After you made sure that it is cooked already. Cool in the tin, this will allow you to unbox the cake from the tin without any breaking it to pieces.
Even though fruit cakes are just fine even from the moment they appear from the oven, just any other food that we see in restaurants or in our home, they, in fact, can still be improved with age, most especially if they are drip-fed with alcohol when maturing.
Spoon out the extra 3 tbsp. of whiskey over the surface of your cake, and let it soak into the cake. When the cake has finally absorbed the whiskey, you can now wrap the cake in greaseproof paper, and store it in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Remember that the longer the time of storing your cake, the tastier it becomes.
STEP 6: Icing & Decorating
Christmas cakes are commonly frosted in two layers. Usually, the first layer marzipan is used, it gives a cushion in the cake and icing. Leave the second layer of icing to set overnight before designing the cake. Putting some glycerin to the icing stops it from getting rock hard.
You can also decorate your cake using the left-over icings. You can make some fondant cut-outs; for example, stars, snowflakes, or anything that you wish to create. This will surely attract the attention of whoever sees it.
- Avoid using old ingredients that have been stored away in your kitchen from holidays past. These ingredients will add nothing to the flavor of your Christmas cake. You should use new and fresh ingredients to make your cake taste more delicious.
- Pick only dried fruits after drenching it to eradicate any rubbishes.
- Always remember that make your cake ahead of time. This is because the longer time it has to mature, the tastier it is.
- Try not to open the door oven for the first two hours of baking. The cake needs a low & steady heat – and opening the oven door might make a change to it.
- Every 2 - 3 weeks spoon out 2 tbsp. of whiskey or brandy over the surface of your cake to make it even more delicious. Piercing the cake in putting the whiskey isn’t necessary, just let the whiskey get soaked into the cake.
- If you want to serve your Christmas cake in a more exciting and more appealing manner, you can also put some icing on it just like any other cakes.
And there you have it! Making your own Christmas cake is not that hard and well worth your effort. It is very easy, right?
If you want to watch a video tutorial that will easily guide you as well in making your very own Christmas cake, you can try to watch this video tutorial on Youtube.
This tutorial is very special to me because it has always been my passion to share what knowledge I have and I am sure that this step-by-step tutorial will surely help you in learning how to bake a very special fruit cake for a very special occasion.
Did you have fun reading this tutorial on how to make a Christmas cake? Just let me know. Leave your comments and suggestions in the comment box below. Thank you!