Traditional Christmas Cake on TV3

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Traditional Christmas Cake

Watch the clip on TV3 here and see the recipe below!

Traditional Christmas Cake

This is a traditional cake that matures nicely with “feeding” which means adding a little alcohol (we are using sherry) every week or so. It’s best to make this at least 4 weeks before Christmas as the flavour mellows and the cake becomes rich and moist.

 You will need:

1 x 9” cake tin

1 x roll baking paper

Some string


 225g Sultanas

  • 225g Raisins
  • 110g Candied Peel
  • 75g Dates
  • 75g Apricots
  • 50g Currants
  • 25g Crystallized Ginger
  • 125mls Sherry
  • 175g Butter
  • 250g Light Muscovado Sugar
  • Juice and Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 250g of Plain Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon of ground allspice
  • ¼ Teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ Teaspoon of mixed spice



Grease your tin generously and base line. Line the sides with the baking paper, coming up to twice the height of the tin. Cut out a circular piece of the paper to place on the top later. Wrap a layer or baking paper around the sides and secure with string.

  1. Place the sultanas, raisins, candied peel, dates, apricots, currants and crystallized ginger into a bowl.
  2. Pour sherry over and mix thoroughly
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 150˚C , 140˚C Fan, Gas mark 2
  1. Place the fruit into a wide bottomed pot with the sugar, butter, orange juice and zests
  2. Bring to the boil gently and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then
  3. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and ginger and stir
  5. Add the beaten eggs
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin
  7. Bake for 2 hours, checking after 30 mins to see if you need to place the circular layer of baking paper on top to prevent it from getting too dark.
  8. Check the cake is ready by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean it is ready, if the skewer comes out wet they need to be returned to the oven
  9. When it is ready, poke a few holes in the top of the cake and feed it with a couple of teaspoons of sherry. Leave to cool in the tin.
  10. Remove from the tin and wrap tightly in baking paper and then a couple of layers of tin foil. “Feed” it every week or so until you are ready to ice it. Don’t feed it too close to the icing stage as you want the top of it to be dry for the icing.

Almond Paste/Marzipan


100g Icing Sugar plus a little extra to dust on work surface

100g Golden Caster Sugar

200g ground Almonds

A couple of drops of Almond Extract

1 tablespoon of Whiskey

(For later: 2 tablespoons Apricot Jam)


Place a pot with a couple of inches of boiling water on the hob. Place a heatproof bowl over and add the sugars. With an electric whisk, add the egg and whisk for 2-3minutes or until light and fluffy. If you don’t have an electric whisk, do it manually for about 5  minutes.

Remove the bowl from the pot and add the almond extract and whiskey, whisking all the time. Add the ground almonds now and tip the mixture out onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Knead the mixture until it comes together to form a paste.

Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is about 1cm or less in thickness.

To place on the cake:

Heat the apricot jam in a pot (about 2 tablespoons) with a teaspoon of water.

Brush it lightly around the surface of the cake.

Use a piece of string to measure the cake and use this to measure how wide the marzipan needs to be. Make it a little bigger.

Use your rolling pin to gently carry the marzipan over to the cake and drape on carefully. Place your hands around the edge of the cake and gently press the side in. Trim the excess around the base.

Allow to dry out for a week before icing it. Keep well wrapped and stored in a cool place.

To ice with fondant icing:

  • Using icing sugar on your work surface to prevent sticking, roll out the icing using the tin you have made the cake in as a guide. Cut out the icing so that it is bigger than the cake (allowing enough for the side of the cakes to be covered)
  • Place the icing over the cake and tuck in at the bottom, trimming as necessary.
  • Decorate however you wish!


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