Wednesday, 1 December 2010

On the first day of Christmas...Auntie Joy's Christmas cake

Good with: a wedge of cheese, a glass of port and no children in the vicinity
I could say I've been making this cake for years and everyone always raves about it. But that would be a lie. What I can truthfully say is, I've been eating this cake for years, and I am one of many who enthusiastically gives it the thumbs up. Or I would give it the thumbs up if my thumbs weren't so enthusiastically helping me eat it.
Auntie Joy makes it for most family get-togethers and it's always a big hit. A slice on its own with a cup of tea makes an afternoon of childcare fly by. But at night this dark and delicious fruit cake comes into its own. Smother it with soft blue cheese and eat with a generous glass of sweet sherry or port. This is the fruit cake equivalent of a staid bluestocking during the day, who, come 7pm, whips off her glasses, undoes her chignon and reveals her true colours. On that note, make a few and give them as presents to the men in your life (always so difficult to buy for), alongside a wedge of stilton and a bottle of port.
Auntie Joy's Christmas Cake
Start to finish: 24 hour soak, 10 minutes prep, 2 hours in the oven, serve 3 days later
Serves: 10
500g mixed fruit
A nice cup of (black) tea (300ml)
250g self raising flour
50g ground almonds - optional, but adds a softness to the cake
125g brown sugar (as dark as you can)
2 eggs (any size)
2lb loaf tin
1 heaped tsp of mixed spice (or a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, whatever you have in your cupboard)
10-12 glace cherries
20 whole almonds
Make the black tea and soak the mixed fruit in it and cover with a plate or cling film. After around 24 hours mix the fruit and the tea into all the other ingredients.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degree, C/160 degree C if it's a fan.
Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper, pre-pleated liners are ideal, but don't worry if you don't have them, just do a bit of origami with the baking paper. Pour mixture in, bang the tin on a surface to help it settle and sprinkle with glace cherries and whole almonds.
Bake for 2 hours, checking with a skewer from about 1.5 hours, don't worry if it overcooks slightly.
Cool and firmly wrap in foil and leave for 3 days. It will keep for at least two weeks. Prick the surface and douse with brandy on the second day, if you want it a bit boozy, it's nice either way.
If the cake turns out dark and dense, serve it with Stilton. If softer, go for something a touch lighter, such as Roquefort. It keeps for three weeks.


  1. A cake that keeps for 3 weeks! perfect Xmas present fodder. Mmmm... :-)

  2. hey since when am I your 'Auntie'!!!! retitle asap!
    yes Holly, it will keep for about three weeks but with no fat content but is best after 5-6 days. Add a touch more liquid to your soak if you want to keep it for longer.

  3. But Joy, you are an auntie! Just not mine.

  4. Ha Ha! thanks for ponting that out - i suppose you have feed those boys a lot of this cake in lieu of a meal.
    very nice blog - and even nicer cake photo. mine are all tightly wrapped following mass production in the school kitchen one night. wait util you taste the wholemeal nut christmas cake i've done for the Plow christmas day. mouth stickingly good and only 3 units of brandy a slice!

  5. ooh! can't wait!
    Just tucking into the last slice of your christmas cake - just found it in the breadbin, thought it had all gone, what a result!

  6. easy cake recipes14 October 2012 19:10

    Overall time from start to finish may be quite lengthy but it's all worth it. The directions are easy to follow so no worries. Great cake to bake.

  7. This is really long to prepare but trust me! it's worth the time and effort


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