Recipe of the Month

Christmas cake

No need, the cake will keep, wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil, for a couple of years.  Avoid using a plastic container, as the cake will sweat and may rot after a few months.

This quantity will fill an 8"/20cm round or 7" /17.5cm square tin.  Double the ingredients will fill a 10" /25.5cm round or a 9"/23cm  square tin and four times the quantity will fill a 12"/30cm round or 11"/28cm square tin.

If you don't have a cake tin the right size, use a saucepan or casserole instead.

1½ lb (600g) dried fruit: mixed sultanas, raisins and currants

8 oz (225g) glace cherries

2 oz (50g) chopped candied peel

8 fl oz (225 ml) ruby port

½ tsp orange oil or the grated rind of an orange

2 oz (50g) ground almonds

6 oz (175g) self raising flour

6 oz (175g) butter

6 oz (175g) dark muscovado sugar

3 eggs

2 tbsp black treacle

1 tsp mixed spice


2 tbsp brandy

3 further tbsp brandy

Redcurrant jelly or apricot jam

About 1lb (500g) Almond paste


Line the base and sides of an 8”/20cm deep round cake tin with Bake-O-Glide.


Wash the fruit and pile into a bowl.  Stir in the port and orange oil or rind.  Cover and leave to steep for 24 hours.


Mix together the almonds, butter, flour, sugar, eggs, treacle and spice.  Fold in the soaked fruit.


Pour into the tin and bake for about 6 to 8 hours – some ovens are faster than others!  When a clean skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, the cake is cooked.


Leave to cool, then spoon over 2 tbsp brandy.  Leave for about 6 hours to soak, then wrap in greaseproof paper and foil and store in a cool cupboard – not the fridge. 


About once a month, open the package and spoon over a little more brandy.  Do not pierce the cake with a skewer once it is cooked and cooled, the brandy will soak in quite easily without.


About 3 weeks before the cake is needed (ie. at the beginning of December), remove from the paper and brush the cake with melted redcurrant jelly or apricot jam, then cover in marzipan and icing, and decorate.