Last Minute Christmas Cake

I’m a bit of a floozy when it comes to christmas cake recipes and don’t have a favourite one!

I also never get round to making one early enough to let it mature in the traditional way, truth be told I don’t even really like eating it, but my family do  – So this weekend I finally got round to making one for us! Whether it actually gets decorated is anyones guess!

This is based on a Delia Smith recipe with a few changes. I love cinnamon and cardamom so rather than the all spice in Delias recipe I have used those spices, to compliment these flavours I soaked the fruit in chai tea rather than brandy and finally I swapped the brazils and mixed nuts for almonds and pistachios. It all gives the cake a more asian inspired flavour – it might even entice me to have a slice or two over the festive period!

This cake can be made the day before you need it but will happily last two or three weeks without drying out.

Ingredients

For the pre-soaking
150ml chai tea ( I make it using a chai teabag in 150ml boiled water, leave to infuse for 5 mins)
1 x 400g jar mincemeat
110g prunes, chopped
50g glace cherries quartered – I used Billingtons morello cherries for extra flavour
175g dried mixed fruit
50 mixed peel
2 tsp chopped stem ginger
For the cake
225g Self raising flour
30g plain flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
150g softened butter
150g soft dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
50g chopped blanched almonds
50g chopped pistachios
zest 1 large orange and 1 lemon
For the glaze
juice the orange and lemon
equal parts sugar ( approx 150g)
Method

Measure the fruits and mincemeat into a plastic or ceramic bowl and add the chai tea liquid , teabag and all! Combine well, cover with cling film and leave overnight.

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When you are ready to make the cake, pre-heat the oven to 160C.

Double line your 8 inch tin with greasproof paper and get a large doubled over piece of brown paper that will wrap round the outside of your tin.

Measure the flours, baking powder, salt and spices into a mixing bowl, the whisk together with a hand whisk.

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In another bowl beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy then add the eggs gradually until all combined.

Fold in the flour and give a quick beat to combine.

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Fold in the pre-soaked fruit mixture, chopped nuts and the grated lemon and orange zests. Dont forget to remove the teabag!

Spoon it into the prepared tin, levelling the top with the back of the spoon. Wrap the tin with the brown paper and secure with a piece of string.

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Bake for 1 hour, then check the cake, if its browning quickly turn the oven down by 10 degrees and give it a little foil hat! Bake for another 1/2hr or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre.

While the cake is cooking make the glaze syrup, juice the orange and the lemon and add an equal amount of sugar to the juice, I used about 150g sugar. Place in a small thick bottomed pan and bring just to the boil dissolving all the sugar.

When the cake first comes out of the oven brush on some syrup to the top, cool the cake in the tin for 30 minutes, then remove it to a wire cooling tray place upside down to continue cooling. Brush the base of the cake with syrup too!

If you have time you can continue to brush the cake in syrup over the next few days.

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Once completely cool the cake is ready for cutting or decorating – its up to you!

I also made these as mini gift cakes which worked really well in my present Nordicware bundt tin. Just fill 2/3rds full and bake for half an hour.

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