Perfect Christmas cake

Author: Delia // Category: ,
Christmas cake

Makes: 1 x 20.5cm (8in) round cake


  • 275g (10oz) butter, softened
  • 225g (8oz) soft brown sugar
  • 6 medium eggs, beaten
  • 275g (10oz) plain flour, sifted
  • 2tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground mixed spice
  • 100g (4oz) ground almonds
  • 350g (12oz) each of currants, raisins and sultanas
  • 175g (6oz) each of glace cherries, chopped, and mixed peel
  • 50g (2oz) almonds, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6tbs brandy
  • Apricot jam
  • 900g (2lbs) each, marzipan and fondant icing


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3.
  2. Grease and double line the base and sides of the loose bottomed cake tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour if necessary. Sift the remaining flour and spices together and fold into the mixture. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients and lemon and spoon into the prepared tin.
  4. Smooth the surface of the cake and then make a dip in the centre. Take a strip of brown wrapping paper and wrap around the cake tin to form a collar. Secure with string.
  5. Bake the cake for 1 hr. Reduce the oven temp to 140ºC/275ºF/gas 1.
  6. Bake for a further 2 hrs 30 mins - 3 hrs. Cover the cake with greaseproof paper to prevent the top from over browning if necessary.
  7. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly and turn out of the tin. Peel away the lining paper and prick the base with a skewer. Pour the brandy over and re-wrap in greaseproof paper and foil. Store in an airtight container untill ready to decorate.
  8. Spread half the jam over the cake, roll out the marzipan and use to cover the cake. Allow to dry out for 2-3 days. Repeat with the remaining jam and cover with the icing. Decorate as desired.

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