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Posts Tagged ‘Easy-Action Christmas Cake’

Jono's easy Christmas Cake

Actually it is Nigella Lawson’s Christmas cake but it has been made by Jono so many times … either with loads of time to spare, or as a last minute “I haven’t done the Christmas Cake!” rush. It always seems to come out as hoped. We do mean to try new recipes but end up doing this each year as it works with whatever dried fruits we have to hand. A good chance to clear out any that have accumulated in the cupboards during the year. 

Not being fans of marzipan and icing, we tend not to ice our Christmas cake, preferring to glaze it with apricot jam and decorate with nuts and/or glacé fruits, or just leaving it as it is. 

Wine suggestion: a little glass of Oloroso sherry never goes astray when baking this … it’s suitably Christmassy. This year it was the Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana’s Oloroso Faraon, a dry style but with a rich roundness and gentle spices.

Jono’s Christmas Cake

  • 775g best-quality mixed dried fruit – use up anything you have
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 250g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 x 250g tin sweetened chestnut purée
  • 125ml dark rum
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 250g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

To decorate:

  • 4 tbsp smooth, good quality apricot jam
  • 150g assorted glacé fruit, blanched almonds or pecans

Line the sides and bottom of a deep 20cm round cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Make sure this is higher than the tin. Then wrap a double layer of brown paper, as used to wrap parcels, around the outside of the tin and tie with string. Try and make the paper layer double the height of the tin to help the cake to cook slowly. 

Put the dried fruit, butter, sugar, chestnut purée, rum and orange juice and zests into a large wide saucepan and bring gently to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2.

Add the beaten eggs, flour, baking powder and spices to the fruit and stir to combine. 

Carefully pour this mixture into the prepared tin, then bake for 1¾-2 hours. The top of the cake should be firm, dry and cracked a little. Test if done with a skewer, if it comes out clean then the cake is done. If some uncooked cake still clings to the skewer then return for a few more minutes until done.

Once cooked use the skewer to pierce the cake all over the top and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of extra rum. This gives the cake an extra boozy layer of flavour. Most of this alcohol evaporates off, but if you want to skip this step feel free.

Put the cake onto a cooling rack and remove the brown paper. When the cake has completely cooled, remove it from the tin and wrap well in greaseproof paper and tin foil. 

If you want to glaze the cake, put the apricot jam into a saucepan and add 1tbsp of water. Heat gently, stirring to make a sticky glaze, then take off the heat to cool. 

Brush the top of the cake with the apricot glaze, then decorate with fruit and nuts. Paint with a second coating of apricot glaze to give a shiny finish. 

(Original recipe by Nigella Lawson)

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