Beginners Christmas Cake

clock 20 minutes + 3 hours bowl Serves 36


  • 250 g butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar firmly packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1.5 kg mixed dried fruit
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ cup sweet sherry plus 2 Tbsp extra
  • ¼ cup whole blanched almonds
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  • 1. Preheat oven to 125°C. Line base and sides of a deep 19cm-square cake pan with three layers of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm over the sides of the pan.

  • 2. Beat butter and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined between additions. Mixture may curdle at this point but will come together later.

  • 3. Scrape mixture into a large bowl. Add marmalade and fruit, mix thoroughly.

  • 4. Sift flours and spice over mixture. Add sherry and mix well.

  • 5. Drop dollops of mixture into the corners of the cake pan to hold paper in position. Then spread remaining mixture into the pan.

  • 6. Drop cake pan from a height of about 15cm onto the bench to settle mixture into the pan and to break any large air bubbles. Level the surface with a wet metal spatula and decorate the top with almonds.

  • 7.Bake for approximately 3 hours or until a skewer poked right to the bottom comes out clean. Brush the top with extra sherry. Cover pan tightly with foil and leave to cool in the pan.

  • TIPS:

  • If both butter and eggs are at room temperature, this will help avoid the mixture curdling.

  • You can use dark brown or black sugar rather than brown sugar for a more richly coloured cake.

  • Cover cake loosely with foil during baking if it starts to overbrown. Give the cake quarter turns several times during baking to avoid uneven browning.

  • Cake can be frozen for up to 12 months.

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