Decadent Christmas Cake

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Decadent Christmas Cake

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Adjust Servings:
339 g Currants
226 g Raisins
339 g Sultanas
100 g Figs dried, finely chopped
85 g Glace cherries quartered
55 g Candied peel
55 g Almonds chopped
226 g Butter
226 g Caster sugar
255 g Plain flour
5 Egg medium
1 tblsp Black treacle
250 ml Brandy
Mixed spice
Marzipan and icing
3 tblspn Jam apricot
600 g Almond paste
Royal icing
  • Serves 20
  • Medium


  • Marzipan and icing



Decadent Christmas Cake

A thoroughly decadent Christmas cake is a treat during long cold Winter evenings.  Some people make it a month in advance, I make it a lot earlier, mainly because it allows me to feed it more brandy.  This allows the rich flavours to develop over a longer period of time, unfortunately it also test my willpower!

This is a dense fruit cake, rather than something like a Simnel cake which is somewhat lighter.  The alcohol can be varied, I have seen recipes with stout, whiskey, sherry or rum!  For a non-alcoholic version, I have seen recipes using tea, apple juice or orange juice.  However, the rest of the ingredients are so rich that I feel those might be missed.

About three or four days before you wish to start eating the cake, you will want to marzipan it.  Leave the marzipan for a couple of days before applying the royal icing and then leave it for another day.  Once the cake is covered in almond paste and royal icing, the cake’s shelf life will increase by up to a few years.

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Put all of the dried fruits in a colander and wash thoroughly.
Drain and place into a bowl, alongside the quartered cherries and candied peel, pour in brandy.
Give this a stir, cover with clingfilm and leave for a day.


Grease and line with grease proof paper a deep sided 26cm diameter cake tin.
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together and then add one egg at a time along with large tablespoon of flour. Beat well until the egg is combined with creamed sugar and butter.
Repeat until you have all of the eggs combined in and then mix in the treacle.


Add the rest of the flour, almonds and spices into the mixture and fold in.
Combine into this, the soaked fruit, any remaining brandy and the lemon zest.


Pour this mixture into the cake tin and a roughly smooth flat with an inverted dome in the centre to reduce any doming of the cake.
Place into the oven for about 4 hours until cooked.
Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for about 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool.


Feeding the cake

Pierce some holes using a skewer almost through the cake - I like to envision the cake as a clock face and make a hole at every hour and then repeat a few inches in toward the centre.
Pour over gently some brandy and using a pastry brush, guide the liquid toward the holes.
Wrap the cake in a couple of layers of tinfoil and store somewhere cool.
Repeat the feeding until you are ready to marzipan and ice the cake.


Finishing touches

Pour the apricot jam into a double boiler and gently heat it up so that it is runny.
Push the runny apricot jam through a sieve so that is a smooth consistency.
Using a brush, coat the surface of the Christmas cake, so that the marzipan can adhere.



Take the marzipan and roll out into a disk that will cover the top of the cake and the sides and the thickness of a pound.
Roll back over the rolling pin and lift up the flattened marzipan and lay over the cake and massage into position.
If the cake is too tall, cut a disk the size of top and proceed to step 8.


Take the remaining marzipan and roll into a long rectangle the circumference of the cake.
Lay up the marzipan against the cake and massage into position, cutting off any excess.
Leave in a cake tin wrapped in foil for one to two days before icing.



Take the icing and using a spatula, spread it over the cake. Rough up the surface if you wish to resemble a frosted surface and decorate to your desire!


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