This is a Christmas cake made to suit my tastes- LOTS of glacé cherries, no nuts (love nuts just not in a fruitcake) and not a currant in sight. It is light in texture and golden in colour, so if you prefer a really dark cake you may want to find a different recipe. I love rich dark fruitcakes but plum pudding ticks those boxes. If you can make this cake four to six weeks ahead of Christmas then all the better. But don’t worry if you find yourself madly stirring at midnight two days before festivities begin; the cake will still be delicious. However, soaking the fruit for 48 hours is non-negotiable. You can find the glacé fruit and sugared papaya online.
- 200g glace cherries
- 250g sultanas
- 90g raisins
- 100g sugared papaya cubes
- 100ml orange liqueur (mine is an orange Armagnac)
- 220g plain flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch salt
- 175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 180g golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 60ml milk
- 2 pieces glacé stem ginger, finely chopped
- 1 glacé clementine, finely chopped
- Put the cherries, sultanas, raisins and papaya in a sieve and wash them under cold water. Pat them dry with kitchen paper. Tip into a bowl and pour over the orange liqueur. Mix well, cover and leave for 48 hours for the fruit to soak up the liqueur.
- Heat the oven to 150˚c, fan oven 130˚c, mark 2. Grease and double line a 20cm cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Allow the edges of the paper to stand at least 2cm above the top of the tin. Mix the flour, baking powder, spices and salt together in a small bowl. Put the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a tablespoon of the flour mixture to stop the batter from curdling. Stir in the milk and fold in the flour and spice mix. Finally fold in the soaked fruit, chopped ginger and clementine.
- Spoon into the prepared tin. Dampen your hand with cold water and pat down the surface of the cake trying to make sure the middle is slightly lower than the edges. Bake in the oven for 2 hrs 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
- When the cake is completely cold remove from the tin and wrap in greaseproof paper and aluminium foil. If you are baking the cake a few weeks in advance you can feed the cake once or twice with booze -I drizzle over bourbon or Armagnac. Two days before Christmas decorate either with marzipan and icing or with glacé fruit.