Perfect Christmas cake recipe

Dec 6th

Have you ever thought you’d like to try making a delicious Christmas cake but decided it was all too difficult? Well here’s the perfect homemade Christmas cake recipe for you, care of home cook Melissa Baker, and to make it even easier there’s a video to show you how it’s done.

The recipe is Melissa’s grandfather’s, who Melissa reckons was a big fan of all the rum and brandy in the cake! She’s not sure if she uses quite as much alcohol as he did. He gave the recipe to Melissa’s mum, who gave it to Melissa.

For quite a few years Melissa has been baking about five cakes every Christmas, mainly for presents, so this is very much a tried and tested recipe.

You can divide the mixture into three to make lovely smaller cakes, perhaps even better to give as Christmas gifts.

The purists will make their Christmas cakes two months and more before Christmas but a month before is ideal and a couple of weeks before is absolutely fine. The important thing is to give it a try. Your family and friends will love you for it and your house will smell beautiful.

In the video Melissa also shows you how to store the cake and the technique for unwrapping it every couple of weeks and brushing it with alcohol to keep it moist and delicious.

I shot the video with Melissa a couple of years ago when I was working at The Australian newspaper. Even though it was a personal project – I wanted to know how to make a Christmas cake! – I thought other people might enjoy it too, so we put it up on the newspaper’s website. It proved hugely popular, more widely viewed than videos I had done with professional chefs.

So why not give it a whirl. It’s a piece of cake.

Perfect Christmas cake
Cuisine: Australian Christmas
  • 250g raisins
  • 250g sultanas
  • 125g mixed peel
  • 125g dried cranberries (or glace cherries)
  • 125g currants
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 100g sweet ginger (dried uncrystalized), chopped
  • 100g dried pineapple, chopped
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp ground cloves
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1tsp ground allspice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup rum
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 250g butter
  • 250g dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g self-raising flour
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the fruit mix and stand overnight covered.
  2. To begin making the cake, cream the butter and sugar well, then add the treacle and mix well.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time.
  4. Sift flours together, add to mixture (in two or three batches), mixing until smooth.
  5. Add the prepared fruit and mix well.
  6. Spread evenly in a 20cm square tin that has been greased and lined with two sheets of baking paper. Lightly grease between the two sheets of paper so they don't move around. (See the video for a good demo of how to line the tin.)
  7. Bake in a slow oven at 150C for 2 to 2.5 hours. Best to put the cake on the middle shelf. Check the cake after 1.5 hours, then every 30 minutes, to see if it's ready. Lightly press your finger in the middle of the cake and if it springs back up the cake is cooked. Alternatively, put a wooden skewer in the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
  8. To make smaller cakes you can divide the mixture into three tins. Cook each one separately for about an hour at 150C. To be safe check at 45 minutes and then every 15 minutes to see if the cake is cooked.
  9. Watch the video to see how to wrap and store your cake.

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