Rich fruit cakes were originally eaten at parties on the 12th night after Christmas and were therefore called twelfth cakes. During the Industrial Revolution, the 12 days of Christmas became less important and people had to start working immediately after Christmas. With celebrations ending on 25th December itself, these cakes were then called Christmas cakes.
Baking a rich Christmas cake starts with the fruit soaking ceremony, a tradition that is followed world wide. It is a fun way to usher in the spirit of the festive season.
Raisins – 350 gms; chopped
Cherries – 50 gms; chopped
Currants – 150 gms; chopped
Walnuts – 75 gms; chopped
Rum or brandy – 200 ml
Butter – 150 gms
Brown sugar – 90 gms
Lemon zest – 1 tsp
Eggs – 2 (large)
Black treacle – 2 tbsp
Almond essence – ½ tsp
Flour – 150 gms
Almonds – 75 gms; ground
Cloves – ¼ tsp; ground
Cinnamon – 1 inch; ground
Ginger – 1 inch; ground
- Soak all dry fruits except for the walnuts in rum or brandy for three days before making the cake.
- Cream the butter and sugar together and add the lemon zest.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well.
- Add black treacle and almond essence. Mix well.
- Sift the dry ingredients together.
- Mix into the cake batter alternating with the soaked fruits. Combine well.
- Place the cake mix into a baking tin which has been doubly lined with butter paper.
- Bake at 160 degrees till a skewer comes out clean.
- Brush with some rum or brandy when the cake is still warm.
- Let cool. Wrap in foil and keep in an airtight container.
Bake this cake well in advance and feed it rum or brandy once a week. It will help build in the flavours and keep the cake moist. The cake can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of months.
A fruit cake drenched in rum or brandy is just what you need to make your Christmas special! Do share your experience of making this Christmas cake. Merry Christmas!