This Christmas fruit cake is a simple recipe passed down by my Nana. It is full of fruits and sherry and is very moist, unlike some store bought versions.
My Nana used to make the best Christmas Fruit Cake. It is very simple in terms of ingredients and it does not need to mature if you are short on time. I made my Christmas cake last week and I am enjoying a slice right now while I type this post.
So, how do you make this Christmas fruit cake? You start off by whisking the dry ingredients together - flour, baking soda and salt. Set this aside while you prepare the wet ingredients. One of these ingredients is mincemeat. I buy jarred mincemeat that has rum or brandy added to it. You will also need mixed fruit for this recipe. I buy this at the grocery store. The fruit comes all diced up in a container. The other wet ingredients are eggs, sherry and a tin of condensed milk.
You will mix your wet ingredients together and then mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Pour this into a 9 inch springform pan that has been greased and lined. This will bake anywhere from 2 - 2 ½ hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean. Let it cool and then prick the top of the cake all over with a toothpick. Pour a shot of sherry over the top of the cake slowly, allowing the sherry to soak into the cake. Cover and then repeat pouring sherry over the cake for the next 2 days. This will make sure your Christmas cake is very moist.
Once the cake is ready, you can cover it with marzipan and icing. Marzipan is required under the icing because without it, the icing would soak into the cake. To make the marzipan stick to the cake, we apply a "glue" of apricot jam. Apricot jam doesn't leave much of a taste, so it will not add anything to the cake. Boil the jam with a bit of water and then sieve out the peel. Brush this all over the top and sides of the cake. Roll out the marzipan in sifted icing sugar and place it over the cake, smoothing the top and sides. Cut off any excess. Set the cake aside for a few days so that the marzipan has a chance to dry.
Now you are ready to ice the cake. I use pasteurized egg whites that come in a carton. Mix them until frothy and then add the sifted icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Once the icing sugar has dissolved into the egg whites, add the glycerine. Glycerine helps maintain the colour of this icing, in this case, white. Beat this mixture until the icing is very stiff and stands up in peaks.
To ice the cake, place the icing onto the top of the cake and spread evenly over the top and sides. For a snowy effect, use the back of a spoon to rough up the icing. Leave the cake loosely covered overnight so the icing can firm up. Store in an airtight container.
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- 2½ cup flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups mincemeat
- 1 tin (300ml) condensed milk
- 2½ tbsp + 3 oz sherry
- 2 cups mixed fruit
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 tbsp water
- 3 egg whites, pasteurized
- 1½ lb icing sugar, sifted
- 1½ tsp glycerine
- Preheat oven to 300F. Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add mincemeat, condensed milk, sherry and mixed fruit. Mix together. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Bake for 2 to 2½ hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cake cool.
- Poke holes over the top of cake with toothpick. Pour 1.5 oz sherry slowly over cake. Wrap with tin foil. The next day, pour another 1.5 oz sherry over cake and wrap in tin foil overnight.
- Warm apricot jam and water in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then sieve the jam so that no peels remain. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the jam.
- Roll out marzipan on a sifted icing sugar surface. Place marzipan over top of cake and smooth top and sides. Cut away excess. Cover cake with parchment paper and leave at room temperature for 3 days so marzipan can dry.
- Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Mix in icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until all the icing sugar has been dissolved.
- Whisk in glycerine and beat until the icing is stiff and stands up in peaks.
- Spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake. To make a snow peak effect, use the back of a spoon to rough up the icing.
- Leave the cake loosely covered overnight to allow the icing to harden. Store in a airtight container.
Icing recipe adapted from Mary Berry