It’s that time of the year again. The classic Christmas Cake deserves your attention. Making your own gives you the freedom to customise a base recipe, and choose the dried fruit, spices, icing (or lack thereof) that suit you. It’s genuinely easy, delicious, and if it’s not your thing, makes for an amazing Christmas present.
Baking your Christmas Cake 1-3 months ahead of the festive period is the secret to incredible taste and texture. Fortnightly ‘feedings’ with your alcohol of choice, preserves the cake, builds amazing flavour, and of course, retains moisture.
Our chosen alcohol for this recipe is our very own Moore House Manhattan cocktail, with Bourbon, full-bodied spicy Vermouth, Angostura Bitters and Cherry liqueur; the perfect compliment to the Christmassy flavours of the cake. For this recipe, we recommend opting for the 500ml size of our Manhattan, which will see you through feedings from the start of Autumn till late December.
This recipe was adapted from James Martin’s Make & Mature Christmas Cake recipe.
1kg Mixed dried fruit (e.g. raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes, figs, apricots)
Zest and juice 1 orange
Zest and juice 1 lemon
150ml Moore House Manhattan (plus extra, 500ml bottle recommended)
250g Butter, softened at room temp.
200g Light soft brown sugar
175g Plain flour
100g Ground almond
½ tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Mixed spice
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
¼ tsp Ground cloves
100g Flaked almonds
4 Large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Put 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml Moore House Manhattan cocktail, 250g softened butter and 200g light soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.
- Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
- Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking paper, then wrap an additional double-layer around the outside, tied with string to secure.
- Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
- Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spoon, and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
- Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp (or 30ml) of the Manhattan cocktail. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
- To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp of Manhattan every fortnight, until you ice it. After a fews weeks, you can turn the cake upside down, poking holes in the underside, and continue to feed though this side.
- Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before marzipan and/or icing.