If you haven't done it already, best schedule in some time today to get baking, as Christmas cakes taste best when they've been made up to 2 months prior to eating. Check the cupboards, dust off your apron and head to the kitchen for the Christmas special of your very own bake off.
This recipe is a family favourite, that has been adapted from an old St Micheal recipe book.
150 g softened butter or margarine
175 g soft dark brown sugar
200 g plain flour
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
600 g mixed fruit soaked in brandy (buy already prepared or do your own)
50 g glace cherries, halved
50 g blanched almond slivers
1. Prepare a 20 cm cake tin by greasing the sides and double lining the base. You may also want to turn the oven on (150°C, 300°F, Gas Mark 2), so as to be preheated for when the mixture is ready.
2. Weigh out the sugar and the butter and place in a bowl.
3. Add the eggs and mix together.
4. Weigh out the flour and stir into the mixture, along with the two teaspoons of mixed spice.
5. Add the mixed fruit soaked in brandy.
6. Add the halved cherries and the almond slivers.
7. Gently mix in all of the fruit until evenly blended and transfer the mixture into the baking tin.
8. Place the tin into a preheated oven (see 1.) and bake for 3-3 ½ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
*Handy tip: Once the cake has browned off nicely on top in the oven, place a sheet of newspaper over the tin to prevent it burning, whilst allowing it to cook thoroughly.
9. Once cooled the cake can be popped out onto a cooling rack.
10. Wrap the cake up in tin foil and find somewhere safe for it. You will need to be able to access it regularly to 'feed' it, which means pouring two caps of brandy onto the base every two weeks or so.
11. Decorate your cake a few days before Christmas, to free up time for when things everything else is getting hectic. This bit is entirely up to you, however the traditional marzipan with an icing sugar frosting is suitably delicious and festive looking.
Keep an eye on Instagram to see how we decorate ours.