Delia Smiths Traditional Christmas cake
- 4 tablespoons brandy
- 4 tablespoons port
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- good pinch salt
- 300g (11oz) raisins
- 250g (9oz) currants
- 250g (9oz) sultanas
- 75g (3oz) chopped mixed peel
- 10g (½ oz) almonds, chopped (skin-on)
- ½ orange zest
- ½ lemon zest
- 175g (6oz) self-raising flour, sifted
- 175g (6oz) soft-dark brown sugar
- 175g (6oz) butter, softened
- 4 medium eggs
The day before you intend to bake the cake, measure out the brandy and port, into a large saucepan.
Then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, dried fruits, mixed peel, nuts and zest’s. Now stir and bring the mixture up to simmering point, then, keeping the heat low, simmer very gently for 10 minutes. After that allow everything to cool then pour the mixture into an airtight plastic container and leave it in a cool place overnight. Remember to take the butter out of the fridge so it will soften.
When you are ready to bake the cake, pre-heat the oven to 140°C, gas mark 1.
All you do is measure out the flour, sugar and softened butter into a very large mixing bowl then add the eggs and with an electric whisk, beat until everything is evenly blended. (Use a wooden spoon if you don’t have an electric whisk). Now use a large metal spoon to gradually fold in the fruit mixture until it’s all evenly distributed. Then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface with the back of the spoon.
Finally cover the top of the cake with a double square of parchment paper with a 50p-size hole in the centre (this gives extra protection during the long slow cooking).
Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 4 hours until it feels springy in the centre when lightly touched. Cool the cake for 45 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling. When it’s completely cold, wrap in double greaseproof paper and then foil and store in an airtight tin or polythene box.
This cake eats very well as it is but if your want to use some of the brandy from your storecupboard, you can ‘feed’ it by making small holes in the top and bottom with a cocktail stick and spoon in a couple of tablespoons of brandy then it wrap it in double baking parchment and foil or store in an airtight tin. You can now ‘feed’ it at weekly intervals until you eat it as it is or ice it.
- 20cm round cake tin
- lining paper
- large saucepan
- large mixing bowl