Even if you've missed Stir-up Sunday, you can still make a delicious fruit cake
The Ultimate Rich Christmas Fruit Cake - this recipe is by Juliet Sear from Billingtons
Juliet says: “I LOVE this recipe. After many years playing about with this one, tweaking here and there, I do think it is the best you’ll find. It is so so easy to make, no nonsense or soaking required. The texture is to die for; it’s more a hybrid of a pudding and a cake and is best served alongside your festive cheeseboard as, thanks to the fruit, it has a chutney quality. This recipe is perfect even if you only make it a couple of weeks before eating, but of course If you are one of those organised folk (not like me!) you can make it up to 6 months in advance of Christmas and occasionally feed with extra brandy. This cake makes a good family size 8” cake. As a guide, if using a 3” depth cake tin, you need to fill it up to almost the top as it won’t rise very much.”
You will need
- 8” round tin lined with baking parchment,
- 3 bowls (one microwave safe if using),
- Non-stick saucepan if you don’t have a microwave,
- Large spoons (wooden and metal),
- Small sharp knife,
- Sieve x 2
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- 240g sultanas
- 360g raisins
- 360g currants
- 100g mixed peel
- 30g glace ginger (optional)
- 300g Billington’s Glacè Cherries, washed and halved
- 200g salted butter
- 200g Billington’s Molasses Sugar
- 4 medium eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp Nielsen Massey Vanilla Extract
- 180g Allinson Plain Flour
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- Large pinch of ground cloves
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- 160ml brandy, plus about 150-200ml brandy to feed the cake once it is baked
- 60ml vodka
- Preheat the oven to 140ºC. Weigh out all the dried fruit, peel and place cherries into a very large bowl and mix together with a large wooden spoon.
- Weigh the butter and molasses sugar into a small microwave-safe bowl and heat in a microwave for a minute at a time, stirring with a whisk each time to mix the butter and sugar together. You could also do this in a non-stick pan on a low heat and melt gently.
- Beat the eggs together with the vanilla extract.
- Add the spices to your flour and mix well with a metal spoon.
- Tip the warm butter and sugar mix into the large bowl of fruit and mix well.
- Add the beaten egg and mix well
- Add the flour and spice mix and stir until just mixed.
- Finally add your brandy and vodka.
- Place in the oven and bake for an hour at 140ºC, then turn the heat down to 125ºC and continue to bake until completely cooked through. This will take approximately 3 ½ to 4 hours in total depending on your oven. Check that a sharp knife or a skewer comes out almost clean. When cooked, repeatedly stab cake with a sharp knife or skewer and generously brush over with all of the extra brandy and leave to rest to absorb the alcohol.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin. To store, turn out onto more parchment, wrap well and then wrap in two layers of strong foil. Store in a cool dark place. If making a few months before, occasionally brush with more brandy.