Our favourite Christmas Cake recipe
This traditional Christmas cake pulls out all the stops - and if you have the time you can even feed it with brandy every week in the run up to Christmas before you ice and decorate
• 225g plain flour
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp mixed spice
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 200g butter
• 200g dark brown sugar
• 2 tbsp black treacle
• 1 tbsp marmalade
• ¼ tsp vanilla essence
• 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
• 800g mixed dried fruits
• 100g chopped mixed peel
• 150g glacé cherries, halved
• 100g blanched almonds, chopped
• 200g marzipan
• 1-2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
For the royal icing
• 3 free-range egg whites
• 600g icing sugar, sieved
• 1½ tsp liquid glycerine - optional
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Heat the oven to 150C. Grease a 8inch round or an 18cm square cake tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.
2. Sieve the flour, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon into a bowl.
3. Cream the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and then mix in the, treacle, marmalade and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
4. Mix the eggs a little at a time into the butter mixture adding a tablespoon of flour mixture with the last amount.
5. Fold in the remaining flour mixture , then mix in the dried fruit, mixed peel, glace cherries and the almonds.
6. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and make a slight hollow in the centre.
7. Bake in the oven for 3 hours and then test with a skewer, if it comes out clean it is ready
8. Leave to cool
9. Once cool, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tbsp of brandy. Let the brandy soak into the cake. 10. Store the cake wrapped in foil and in an airtight tin or plastic container, holes side up.
11. To decorate the cake, place the cake on a foil board or cake plate.
12. Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar and knead the marzipan until soft.
13. Roll out half the marzipan to fit the top of the cake and roll out the rest in strips to fit around the sides of the cake.
14. Brush the cake all over with the warmed apricot jam and then place the marzipan on top and around the cake.
15. To make the icing, lightly whisk the egg whites adding the sugar at intervals. Beat well until it reaches soft peaks. Add the glycerine if using and the lemon juice.
16. Spread icing all over cake either flat iced using a clean ruler or by forming soft peaks.