Christmas Cake

The pre Christmas baking season is upon us – Anne Neary shared her favourite Christmas cake recipe with us…
  • 1 lb/ 450 g currants
  • 11 oz/285 g sultanas
  • 5 oz/ 150 g raisins
  • 4 oz/ 110 g cherries- chopped into pieces
  • 4 oz/ 110 g nibbed or chopped almonds
  • 4 oz/ 110 g mixed peel
  • Grated zest of two lemons
  • 4 tablespoons of brandy
  • 11 oz/ 325 g plain flour
  • 10 oz / 275g butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 oz/ 110 g ground almonds
  • 10 oz/ 275 g dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of treacle (optional)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tin strawberries, drained




Preheat the oven to 130C/ 250F/ Gas Mark 1 1/2

You must begin by preparing the cake tin. You need to line it on the inside of a 10 inch round or 9 inch square cake tin with a double layer of parchment and on the outside with a layer of brown paper so as to allow slow entry of heat into the cake. It is vitally important to spend time lining your cake tin correctly.

Next you need to put all of the dried fruit, the strawberries, the lemon zest and the chopped almonds into a large bowl and mix in the brandy. Cover and leave to infuse for 24- 48 hours.


To Make the Cake:


In a large mixing bowl cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat the eggs into the mix.

Sift the flour, ground almonds and spices together.

Add the flours to the creamy butter mixture, mixing thoroughly.

Next mix in the treacle and combine well (if using).

Finally you need to fold in the dried fruit which has been soaking. The mixture will get quite firm but do persevere at this stage.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth it all out across the top, then make a slight dip in the middle.

Bake the cake mixture for 3- 3 1/2 hours or until the mixture starts to come away from the side of the tin.

The cake should have a little spring when pressed in the centre to indicate that it is cooked. Allow to cool completely in the tin. Pour additional brandy over the top of the cake if desired.

Note: If using a fan oven place a damp piece of newspaper under the tin in the oven.