The Christmas Cake to End all Cakes!
Christmas cakes are a daunting task to even an experienced baker. It is a big investment of time and ingredients, but this recipe is well.. just right. It is simple and effective. It is lighter, crumblier and well a little more modern in my opinion. Over the years I have learned ALOT of people HATE marizpan and I am one of those. I love the cake but was always put off by the marizpan and the overly sweet fondant. So to that end I had to re-think and re-engineer this classic cake so I decided to ice it with a deliciously rich, smooth and velvety mixed spice cream cheese icing. This is a game changer. If you never liked Christmas Cake give this one a go. I promise you won’t regret. I promise.
Christmas Cake with Cheese Cake Icing
- 700 g dried fruit
- 100 g mixed peel
- 100 g cherries
- 100 ml whiskey
- 2 oranges zest only
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 175 g butter
- 225 g dark brown sugar
- 100 g ground almonds
- 225 g self raising flour
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 1½ tsp mixed spice
Mixed Spice Cream Cheese Icing
- 100 g cream cheese
- 75 g butter
- 3/4 tsp all spice
- 500 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp milk
- Take a large baking bowl. Empty all the dried fruit in. Using a grater zest the orange ( this means greeting just the orange outer skin of the orange). Add the orange zest and vanilla to the whiskey and warm gently in a saucepan or the microwave. Pour this mixture over the dried fruit, cover with a clean tea-towel and allow it to sit overnight.
- Prepare a 9inch cake tin by lining it with greaseproof (parchment) paper. Cut a large piece of parchment paper. Fold it over so it is doubled, just bigger in size than the base of the tin.
- Sit the base of the tin down on the paper and draw and/or cut around it. You will have 2 circles. Set aside. Lay the tin down on its side and cut out a long strip of parchment which will stretch all the way round the inside of the tin. Cut this about 3cm taller than the cake tin itself. When cut out, lay it flat on the table. Fold over the bottom 2 cm. using you scissors cut small snips in this 2cm border. Place this in the cake tin all around the edge, folding down the snipped border on the base. This helps it take the circular form and sit in well. Place the 2 circles in on the base next.
- Arrange the shelves in the oven to ensure the cake will fit. Preheat the oven to 130℃ fan.
- Make the cake batter: Place the eggs, sugar, butter and treacle in a large bowl and with an electric whisk beat until light and fluffy and creamy. This will take about 6/7 minutes. Sift in the flour, add in the ground almonds and spice. Gently combine. Then add in all the fruit and liquid.
- Using a large spoon transfer all of this mixture carefully into the cake tin. Using the back of a spoon, smooth over the top. Bake for 4 hours or until a cake skewers comes out clean and it is a deep dark golden colour.
- Make the icing by beating the cream cheese and butter with the all spice and the vanilla. Sieve in the flour and beat well with the milk until it forms a creamy and silky icing.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin. When cool, prod some tiny holes in the top and drizzle in a little extra whiskey. Wrap in parchment paper and two layers of tinfoil or cling film. Set aside and occasionally add in a little more whiskey if desired. Decorate with the icing sugar some festive decorations and a dusting of icing sugar. ENJOY.