A rich fruity cake, cooked the first time by Doreen for Christmas 2002.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: High
PREPARATION TIME: The fruit should be prepared at least one or two days in advance. (The Irish recipe recommended a couple of weeks in advance.)
COOKING TIME: 3 ~ 3½ hours – check after 2½ hours
- 360 grams Sultanas
- 375 grams Raisins
- 360 grams Currants
- 90 grams Glace Cherries
- 90 grams Dates
- 90 grams Figs
- 60 grams Prunes
- 30 grams Glace Pineapple
- 90 grams Mixed Peel
- 60 grams Glace Ginger
- 90 grams slivered almonds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon grated Lemon Rind
- 1 teaspoon grated Orange Rind
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup Orange Juice
- 4 tablespoons Brandy
- 2 tablespoons Sherry
- ½ small Granny Smith Apple, peeled and grated
- 280 grams Butter
- 150 grams Brown Sugar
- 150 grams Castor Sugar
- 5 Eggs
- 360 grams Plain Flour
- 80 grams Self-raising Flour (or 1 tsp baking powder and 80 grams plain flour)
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Brandy or Sherry, extra
- Remove the seeds from the prunes and chop all the fruit. (Scissors dipped in water is said by some to be the easiest way to do this, but I still use a knife and chopping board.)
- Combine the chopped fruit, rinds, juices, brandy, sherry and apple.
- Soak one or two days (or at least overnight) in a large basin. (If you start early enough, store them in a screwtop jar for up to 3 weeks to let flavours soak into the fruit. Shake the jar well and store in a cool dry place – this gives the fruit a really rich flavour. Each day turn the jar upside down for even soaking.)
- On day of baking: line a deep 20 cm square cake tin with two thicknesses of greaseproof (or Glad Bake) paper, bringing paper 5 cm above the top edge of the tin. Put four thicknesses of brown paper around the outside of the tin and tie string around it to hold in place.
- Beat the butter until soft.
- Add sugar, beating until just combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Put the fruit mixture into a large basin and add creamed mixture – mix well, using a wooden spoon.
- Stir in the sifted dry ingredients.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. To get a smooth surface on the top of the cake – wet a dessertspoon and rub the back of the spoon over the cake mix to smooth it out. Decorate as desired with halved glace cherries.
- Bake in a slow oven (150 degrees C) (using conventional oven setting or fan without top and bottom heating elements) for 3 to 3½ hours, checking after 2½ hours.
- To prevent too much browning, place greaseproof or brown paper on top of cake after 1½ hours of cooking.
- Remove from the oven. Prick several times with a fine skewer or toothpick and brush evenly with the extra brandy or sherry, cover with aluminium foil or greaseproof paper and leave until cold before removing from tin.
- Re-wrap in foil and keep in a tightly closed tin, to allow to mature.
- Store for four to six weeks in a cool, dry place.
Based on several recipes including:
- Irish Christmas Cake featured on ABC by Jemma Schweikert, 8 December 2001
- 200 Years of Australian Cooking by Babette Hayes 1970 – Dark Christmas Cake
- Sunbeam Mixmaster Recipes 1967 – Rich Christmas Cake
- Auntie Win’s recipe, which was also an influence