Thursday, December 6, 2012

Our Intoxicated Christmas Cake

After our successful Skype collaboration for Diwali, we decided to give it another go, this time with a Christmas cake. Both of us have never baked a fruit cake before and were absolutely excited about our first trial. It started a couple of weeks ago when Gomathi found a recipe for a Traditional British Christmas Cake and we decided to make it. The ingredients included brandy and having never baked/cooked with alcohol before, this recipe had us discussing how much brandy to buy and where to buy it from.
As the day drew closer, our excitement grew exponentially and finally we were online, on Sunday morning, all set for the adventure. The prep work took about an hour and we finally slid the cake into the oven for its very long baking process…how long is very long you ask? 4.5 hours!!!
We turned off Skype and went our ways, finishing off our routine: cooking and lunch etc. Since the instructions specifically said not to open the oven too often, we just kept turning the oven light on, every 30 minutes or so, to check the progress. After about an hour, our kitchens were filled with the aroma of spices…we could hardly wait for the cake to get done.
The timer went off..beep beep beep…bringing us back to the kitchen; to the deliciousness that was awaiting us in the oven. When I say, deliciousness, it is just an assumption because we are yet to taste our cakes. Yes, you read it right. This cake is not meant to be eaten immediately, it needs to soak in more alcohol for TWO MONTHS!!!
Because we do not have two months left for Christmas and because we just can't hold ourselves that long, we have decided to shorten the wait till the end of this month..which is still too long if you ask us. Patience is a virtue, they say…we'll just have to go with that. So, join us in the wait for a taste of our Intoxicated Christmas Cake. Bon App├ętit.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
1lb 2oz/525g currants
8oz / 225g raisins
4oz / 110g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
6oz / 165 glace cherries, halved
10oz/ 300g all purpose or plain flour
Pinch salt
½ level tsp mixed spice **
½ level tsp ground cinnamon
½ level tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2½ sticks / 300g butter, slightly softened
10 oz / 300g soft brown sugar
Zest of ½ lemon
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp brandy, plus extra for feeding

Pre-heat the oven to 300°F/150°C/Gas 2
The temperature is low as the cake needs a long slow bake. It is packed with sugars, fruits and brandy and if the temperature is any higher the outside of the cake will burn and the inside be undercooked.
·         Line a 9 inch cake tin with 2 thicknesses of parchment or greaseproof paper. Tie a double band of brown or newspaper paper around the outside. This acts as an insulator and to prevent the cake from burning on the outside.
·         In a large roomy baking bowl mix the currants, sultanas, raisins, peel and cherries with the flour, salt and spices.
·         In another large bowl cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest. Add the beaten egg to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating well after each addition - do not try to rush this process as the mixture could curdle. If it does curdle simply add a tbsp of flour and mix again, this should bring the mixture back together. If it doesn't come back together, don't fret, the cake will still be delicious.
·         Carefully fold in half the flour and fruit into the egg and butter mixture, once incorporated repeat with the remaining flour and fruit. Finally add the brandy.
·         Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin making sure there are no air pockets. Once filled smooth the surface with the back of s spoon and make a slight dip in the center (this will rise back up again during cooking and create a smooth surface for icing the cake).
·         Finally, using a piece of paper towel clean up any smears of cake batter on the greaseproof wrapping, if left on they will burn, and though it won't affect the cake, it doesn't smell too good.
·         Stand the tin on a double layer of newspaper in the lower part of the oven, if you have a gas oven ensure the paper is well away from the any flame, and bake for 4½ hours. If the cake is browning too rapidly, cover the tin with a double layer of greaseproof or parchment paper after 2½ hours. During the cooking time avoid opening the oven door too often as this may cause the cake to collapse.
·         After 4½ hours check the cake is cooked. The cake should be nicely risen and a deep brown all over. Insert a skewer or fine knife into the centre of the cake. If there is sticky dough on the skewer when you pull it out it needs cooking longer, if it is clean, the cake's done and remove from the oven.
·         Leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack for an hour, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely. Once cooled prick the surface of the cake with a fine metal skewer and slowly pour over 2-3 tbsp brandy. This feeding should be repeated every two weeks up until Christmas.

The cake should be stored wrapped in greaseproof or parchment paper in an airtight tin.

Changes we made:
One of us used Spiced Rum instead of Brandy and baked in a  bundt pan instead of the suggested round. The dry fruits used also varied a bit, with substitutions like apricots, dried cherries instead of glaced, and orange zest instead of lemon.

The 25 day wait is finally over, and it was definitely worth it!!!

Recipe linked to


  1. Perfect festive cake dear..looks gorgeous with all nuts & spices,must be tasty too!!
    Join EP event-Garlic OR Turmeric @ Spice n Flavors

  2. Thanks Julie. We will surely participate in the event.

  3. OMG, you girls have some patience in the world. I would love to enjoy this cake, but the wait is what is not for me. Also one q, I have read the recipes before, they all needed the currants to be soaked in the brandy for 2-4 days. Any clue on that?? I am gathering courage to bake this cake, but my hunt would start from getting the rum home. Maybe when the kids are bit older.
    Love Ash.

  4. Hi have no idea how we are controlling is tough, trust us :-). And about the soaking of the dry fruits, there are a few options out there. Some recipes call fall soaking the dry fruits for a few days, a few months and some call for soaking the cake. Basically, it is just the time for the flavors to blend.
    You should definitely try it!

  5. super yumm cake
    Iam back to blogging...Plz..visit 1ce dear...
    Visit my new
    face book page

  6. Thank you Maha, will definitely visit :-)

  7. Prefect cake for this christmas season, with those fruits am sure this cake is a killer.

  8. Thank you Priya. We are looking forward to tasting it :-)

  9. Wonderful! Boozy Xmas cakesw are the best.



  10. I cannot take my eyes off that cake, its a cake which will give me a perfect sugary high (hic)... you girls really have a lot of patience :) Merry Christmas!

  11. Thanks Rosa.

    Thanks Gauri. Patience..well you haven't seen us ogling at our cakes when we take it out for the scheduled alcohol feeding :-)

  12. I feel you, i would never be able to wait till the end of the month, leave alone 2! LOVE fruit cakes, it is my mother's fav. We just bake it up and devour it then and there - mom can't trust us with it! :D

  13. Well..we are just trying to be as patient as possible :-)