Christmas Cake – Moist Fruit Cake

Christmas Cake is a traditional fruit cake with a thick, velvety texture and is so flavorful and moist that it can be eaten on its own. On the other hand, a slop of custard is not turned down! Typically, Christmas cakes must be started the day before, with dried fruit soaking overnight. But not in my case!

It’s excellently created on the spot, lasts a long time, and tastes great with or without alcohol. Decorate to your heart’s content — or keep it plain!

Cake For Christmas

I’m picky about Christmas Cake because, let’s face it, and there are far too many bad ones out there. This is how I like/dislike my Christmas Cake:

Cake has to be equally excellent with or without alcohol (I usually make it without – so it can be shared!).

I’m not a fan of biting into large chunks of orange rind, so there’s not a lot of peel or citrus flavor. Just a smidgeon of citrus flavor appeals to me.

When you slice through it, I prefer it to be soft and velvety – that’s how “excellent fruit cakes” should be. Rather than “crumbly,” it has a muffin-like texture. I bake muffins all year; I don’t want that on my Christmas Cake!

It’s moist and fudgy, but it’s still cakey, not brownie-like. Some of the cakes I attempted to evaluate before sharing this recipe were just too dry.

It’s dense, but it’s not brick-like! Some Christmas Cake recipes are WAY too thick, and cutting into one feels like biting into a slab of solid fudge. Thank you, but no!

It is not necessary to decorate!! The cake should be flavorful and moist enough to eat plain without any icing, fondant, or custard.

So, if that sounds appealing to you, I’m confident you’ll enjoy this Christmas Cake!

What’s in the Christmas Cake?

Christmas Cake

You’ll need a LOT of dried fruit and a SMALL amount of cake batter!!

1. Dried Fruit That Has Been Soaked

For the Soaked Dried Fruit, you’ll need the following ingredients. The fruit is either steeped in apple juice or a mixture of apple juice and brandy (for those who like boozy Christmas Cake).

You can use whichever dried fruit you choose as long as the overall weight is less than 855g / 30 oz. You could also use a store-bought dried fruit mix – keep in mind that chopping your own will result in a more moist cake (pre-chopped isn’t as wet), but this cake is ULTRA moist so that you may use pre-chopped!

A store-bought blend of dried, crystallized (i.e., sugared) lemon and orange peel is known as the mixed peel. It usually comes pre-chopped, but I prefer to chop it finely. Because of all those times, I bit into a giant chunk of orange peel; I like minor citrus peel than other recipes.

It’s just not my cup of tea! It’s best to avoid using FRESH orange and lemon peel because it’ll be highly spicy and bitter. I’m not sure how much fresh peel to use in place of this.

Juice and booze — replace 1/3 of the apple juice with brandy for a typical drunken Christmas Cake. If you want a more excellent citrus flavor, you may return the apple juice with orange juice.

2. Batter For Christmas Cake

Here’s everything you’ll need for the cake batter. Because it’s a dense cake, there’s very little baking powder in it. But, unlike other Christmas Cakes, which are so thick that you’d think you’re eating a lump of fudge, it still has a distinct “cake” feel.

Dark brown sugar adds a deep dark brown color to the cake. Substitute regular brown sugar for the granulated sugar — the cake will be lighter (and the fruit will stand out more!).

Molasses / golden syrup — enhances the flavor and color of the cake. Either is acceptable; I switch from year to year.

Walnuts — replace with any nuts of your choice or leave out entirely;

This cake is made with both oil and butter, and the oil gives it its incredible moistness. It’s all about the butter!

Ingredients

Note 1: Fast Soaked Fruit

  • Raisins, 300g / 10 ounce
  • 150g / 5 oz dried apricots, diced 8 mm / 1/3 cup”
  • 75g / 2.5 oz diced mixed peel (5mm / 1/5 inch)
  • 150g / 5 oz glace cherries, chopped 8 mm / 1/3 ounce glace cherries, chopped”
  • 180g (6 ounces) dates, diced 5mm (1/5 inch)”
  • 1/3 brandy + 2/3 juice OR 1 cup + 2 tbsp apple juice

Cake:

  • 115g / 8 tbsp softened unsalted butter (1 US stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar (Note 3)
  • a half-cup of vegetable oil (or canola, peanut, grapeseed)
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup or molasses (Note 4)
  • a half teaspoon of salt
  • a half teaspoon of allspice
  • a half teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • a dozen eggs
  • a half teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (all-purpose flour)
  • a third of a cup of chopped walnuts (optional)

To Serve (Optional)

  • 500ml / 1 pint custard (homemade or shop purchased) (Note 5)
  • DECORATION OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS CAKE, AS SHOWN (OPTIONAL)
  • “Ready to Roll” 250g / 8 ounces marzipan
  • White fondant, 250g / 8 oz “ready to roll.”
  • icing sugar-dusted strawberries

Additional Decorating Options (Optional)

  • Cherries or other fruit coated with icing sugar (looks exceptionally lovely on the simple cake!)
  • splotchy white glaze (directions below)

Instructions

Christmas Cake

Fruit Soaked Quickly:

  • In a large microwave-safe container, combine the dry fruit and juice/brandy—microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, or until heated.
  • Stir to coat all of the fruit in the liquid evenly. Cover and leave aside for 1 hour to plump up/soak and chill (plump up/drink and relax).

Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius / 320 degrees Fahrenheit (140 degrees Fahrenheit fan). 7 cm / 2.75″ tall baking paper (parchment paper) greased and lined a 21 – 22 cm / 8 – 9″ round cake pan
  • Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute on speed 5).
  • Mix in the oil and molasses until well blended.
  • Mix in the salt, spices, and baking powder until well combined.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time until barely combined.
  • Add the flour and mix well.
  • Stir in the fruit mixture (along with all of the leftover liquid in the dish) and walnuts after they’re fully integrated (if using).
  • Pour into a cake pan, cover with foil, and bake for 3 hours and 15 minutes, removing the foil for the last 45 minutes of baking. When a skewer is placed into the center, it should come out clean, with no batter stuck to it.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Before serving, allow it to cool fully.
  • The cake is delicious and flavorful enough to be eaten. However, check the list below for decoration and serving ideas (traditionally served with pouring custard).
  • Cutting: Cut the cake into thin wedges or thin strips (2 cm / 0.75 inch). “Cut the strips into serving-size pieces (or so).

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