If you have a table top mixer this cake is so easy to make you will never buy one again. I usually make my cake in October then keep it securely wrapped in foil or baking paper in a tin until I decorate it a week or two before Christmas. To reduce energy costs - I have made this cake in a 7 inch cake tin (recipe scaled down- see below) and baked for 10 hours on full power in a slow cooker. It bakes well though I have to say I prefer an oven baked cake.
First thing in the morning (or last thing at night) put mixed fruit, fruit zests, fruit juice and cherries in a large bowl and add the cointreau or other liquid, stir and cover with a plate then leave until the evening, the next morning – or several days if you are busy.
When you are ready to mix – cream together the butter and brown sugar until pale, light and fluffy.
Add the syrup or treacle and continue to mix. Gradually incorporate the beaten egg a little at a time along with a teaspoon of flour. This helps to prevent the mixture from curdling. When all the egg has been incorporated gently fold in the rest of the flour which has been sifted together with the spices.
Finally, fold in the soaked fruits.
Transfer the mix to the prepared tin and bake for 10 hours.
I usually put the cake into the oven at 10pm and take it out at 8am the next day. The temperature of your oven is critical – even 10 degrees out will make a difference. I would suggest you check your oven temperature with a thermometer or alternatively before removing your cake from the oven you check with a temperature probe that the internal baked temperature is 97-99 degrees centigrade.
Leave it to go completely cold before carefully removing from the tin. I leave the baking paper on the cake then wrap it in foil and place in a tin in a cool place.
To bake in a slow cooker : Switch on the slow cooker to High to preheat at the time you start to mix the cake. Transfer the batter filled tin into the cooker, cover and cook for 9-10 hours. Test with a temperature probe to ensure the cake has baked to a temperature between 92 and 94 degrees celsius. Remove from the cooker, leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before removing and storing in a tin, wrapped in further paper or foil until Christmas.
TIP ; This recipe will also make 9 x (7.5cm) 3inch mini Christmas cakes which will need to bake for 5.5 hours. This same recipe also makes a 20cm large hemisphere cake pan which take the same baking time as the 9 inch cake. If you don’t have 3 inch (7.5cm) cake tins – try this. Line a large baking sheet with non stick baking parchment then take 220ml baked bean tins, washed, labels removed. Remove the top and base with a tin opener then line the sides with a piece of non stick paper. Fill the tins to the top with the mixture. The mixture is thick and won’t run out at the bottom. Bake for the 5.5 hours then allow to go completely cold before pushing out of the tins.
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