Fruity Christmas Cake at its Best!
Here’s a secret for you….I don’t like Christmas Cake. I’m talking about the good old English traditional dense fruit cake smothered in brandy and then covered with a layer of marzipan (the only part I loved by the way) and covered again in a layer of sugar icing which I know a lot of people like. I just never got it, it always seemed too sweet to me, and too rich.
So…Last year I decided to try my hand at Christmas Cake making to see if I could make a fruit cake that was less sweet, less dense, with no alcohol and no marzipan or icing to see if my little taste buds would then approve.
You know what? They did. I actually like this fruit cake rather A LOT. It’s much lighter than a traditional fruit cake, far less sweet, but still caramel-y, spicy and sweet enough from the dried fruit.
One of the biggest things that makes this cake different is that the dried fruit gets boiled for 15 minutes in water, butter & sugar. THIS makes a world of difference! It means the fruit is plump and moist when you add it to the other ingredients and stays that way through the cooking time so your cake is just so JUICY!
I added some almonds and hazelnuts to give it another dimension. And instead of pouring brandy over the cake once it was cooked & cooled, I used the juice of an orange to give it a pop of citrus & keep the cake extra moist – delicious!
9 Points on How to Make the Perfect Christmas Cake:
- Reduce the amount of dried fruit.
- Reduce the amount of sugar.
- Boil your dried fruit for 15 minutes with water, butter and sugar.
- Add more eggs – I used 4
- Add more flour to make your cake less “fruit dense”.
- Add chopped nuts for another taste dimension.
- Leave out the alcohol and use a fresh orange instead.
- Skip the marzipan and icing for a slightly healthier & lighter fruit cake.
- Add some fondant leaves for decoration if you wish. I used fresh leaves to stamp on the veins and cut around the leaves with a sharp knife for the shape.
There you go – you’re all set to start baking your very own Perfect Christmas Cake. Did I mention how EASY this cake is to throw together? It really is so simple, and just that tad bit healthier than the traditional version. Speaking of simple, I have put together a little cheat sheet to help you get organised for Christmas day well in advance! You can download my free printable – 7 Simple Steps to Being Super Organised This Christmas by clicking here. A few prep & plan secrets you’ll love!
For more Christmas dessert inspiration check out my Christmas Fruit Mince Pies with Light Pastry, and my Dairy & Sugar Free Almond Chocolate Truffles. Don’t miss my Baked Vanilla Cheesecake with Cherry Coulis.
Will you try this recipe? What are some of your Christmas foodie traditions? Let me know in the comments.
- 1 kg fruit cake mix
- 750 ml water
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of almonds & hazelnuts
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups cake flour
- Juice of 1/2 an Orange
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease two round cake tins 20cm in diameter & 4cm deep.
Place the water in a large saucepan with the sugar and butter and bring to the boil. Boil until the butter has melted then add the fruit cake mix and boil for another 15 minutes until the fruit has plumped up. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
While the fruit is boiling, chop up the almonds and hazelnuts into small pieces and set aside for later.
Once the fruit mixture has cooled, add the bicarb of soda, spices and eggs and stir in.
Sieve the flour and fold it into the mixture with a metal spoon.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and make sure it is level, the best way to do this is with your hands.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until the cakes bounce back when you touch them.
Once the cakes have cooled down, slowly pour the orange juice evenly over each cake and let it seep in. This will keep the cakes extra moist.