The preparation work for this Traditional Christmas Cake recipe begins at least 10 weeks before Christmas. Don’t worry, it’s easy to make but needs to be “fed” brandy often in the lead up to Christmas. First, the boozy spiced fruit mix is left to soak in a bath of brandy for five whole weeks. Then it is baked into a rich cake and fed even more brandy every few days for weeks until it cannot take any more festive spirit. Once ready for serving, it can be paired with the airy-light whipped brandy butter, or just some vanilla ice cream or custard to ease the intense richness and fruity flavours of the cake.

Adapted from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook

You will need:

  • Large airtight container
  • Two deep round cake tins, size 13 x 8cm; 5 x 3 in
  • Pastry brush

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake
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The preparation work for this Traditional Christmas Cake recipe begins at least 10 weeks before Christmas. Don’t worry, it’s easy to make but needs to be “fed” brandy often in the lead up to Christmas. First, the boozy spiced fruit mix is left to soak in a bath of brandy for five whole weeks. Then it is baked into a rich cake and fed even more brandy every few days for weeks until it cannot take any more festive spirit. Once ready for serving, it can be paired with the airy-light whipped brandy butter, or just some vanilla ice cream or custard to ease the intense richness and fruity flavours of the cake.
Servings: people
Units:

Ingredients

Boozy Fruit Soak
Christmas Cake
Brandy Butter (optional)

Instructions

Boozy Fruit Soak (start 10 weeks before Christmas)
  1. Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Stir on high heat until the mixture boils. Let the sugar syrup cool.
  2. Add the sultanas, prunes, currants, dates, raisins, figs and peel to a large airtight container. Pour the brandy and cooled syrup over the fruit. Stir well until all the dried fruit is covered. Put the lid on and leave the fruit to marinate at room temperature for 5 weeks. Stir the fruit daily for the first week, then once a week thereafter.
Christmas Cake
  1. Line the base and sides of two 13cm by 8cm deep round cake tins with a double layer of baking paper. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (170 fan-forced; 375 F).
  2. Add the soft butter, sugar, honey, marmalade and golden syrup to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is thick and pale in colour. With the mixer on low speed slowly pour the eggs into the mixture. Allow them to incorporate well. If the mixtures looks like it’s curdling or separating just add a little of the flour to keep it together.
  3. Once all the egg is mixed in, add the flour, mixed spice, and almond meal. Mix on low speed until it’s all incorporated. Stir in the boozy soaked fruits you made earlier.
  4. Split the batter evenly between the two cake tins. Firmly tap each on a bench. Place both cake tins on a baking tray.
  5. Set your kitchen timer for 40 minutes. Turn the oven heat down to 160 degrees Celsius (140 fan-forced; 320 F) and place the baking tray with the cake tins on it in the middle of the oven.
  6. After 40 minutes, turn the baking tray 180 degrees and bake for a further 20 minutes at least. The cakes are done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If not, add another 5 minutes to the timer and check again. The cake might need up to 20 minutes more before they are fully done. If the tops start to get too brown, cover the cake tins with aluminium foil.
  7. When the cakes are cooked remove them from the oven and let them cool completely in their tins.
  8. Cut two sheets of aluminium foil and baking paper big enough to wrap each cake. Put one sheet of aluminium foil on the bench and place one sheet of baking paper on top. Put one cake in the middle. Make 20-30 deep holes in the top of the cake with a skewer. Brush the top with 1 teaspoon of Brandy. Wrap the cake in the paper and the foil. Repeat for the other cake.
  9. Place both wrapped cakes into an airtight container at room temperature. Every 3-4 days unwrap the cakes and brush another teaspoon of Brandy across the top. Keep brushing brandy on the cake every few days until Christmas.
Brandy Butter (optional)
  1. Add the soft butter and icing sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat together on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy and pale in colour.
  2. Gradually pour in the Brandy, mixing well until everything is well combined. Scoop the butter into a microwaveable container. Refrigerate, then bring back to room temperature when ready to serve.

Baking Tips

  • The fruit filling will keep for up to 2 months in the fridge
  • The brandy butter will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge
  • The cake tins used are 13cm wide (5 inches) by 8cm deep (3 inches). I found mine 5+ years ago at a professional cake decorator store. If you use different size cake tins, the baking time will change. I’m not sure by how much. I can only advise to check if the cake is baked in 5-minute intervals from the 20 minute bake time as published.
COOKBOOK AVAILABLE ONLINE AT:

TheBookDepository.com Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion  (free worldwide shipping)

Amazon.co.uk Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

Fishpond.com.au Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion (free AU and NZ shipping)

17 Comments

  1. Bridget ~ The Internet Chef

    My mouth is watering!! I’m a Christmas baby, so as legend has it My mother would hid Christmas cake in the back of the fridge and ate it constantly while she was pregnant with me. If her cravings are anything to go by, I LOVE Christmas cake and even love the royal icing and marzipan layers. Thank you for sharing, Bourke street Rocks!

  2. Chele

    Mmmmm – I have been admiring this recipe in the book myself but as usual left myself no time to prepare it lol. Looks fantastic too! Hope everyone enjoys it ;0)

  3. Appleandspice

    Wow that looks fabulously moist and fruity. I’m with you on the candied peel – horrid stuff.

  4. Christmas Cake Recipe

    Bourke Street Bakery Christmas Cake>>>>>>>>>>————-really impressive and looks so delicious.

  5. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Wow, 10 weeks to make a Christmas cake! I’m sure it’s worth it though. Your cake looks delicious!

    I hate peel too, ick! You are not alone there.

  6. Hannah

    Yes yes yes! I do think peel is gross! Thank you for acknowledging a peelophobes and giving an alternative choice :D

  7. Emma

    This is one of those recipes you’d hand down through your family – it looks so full of flavour. My grandmother used to make her chrissy cake a few weeks in advance, I really appreciate the tradition although I haven’t done it myself.

  8. Conor @ Hold the Beef

    YES you definitely need a large fruit:cake ratio! Unless you want me to just dig out the tasty fruit and leave the bland cake hiding under my serviette..

  9. Georgia * Bakery Bookery

    That looks incredible! I think I’ve left it a bit late this year, but I’ll definitely have a crack at it next year! Such a wonderful cookbook!

  10. Sheena

    I’m not a fan of the Christmas fruit cake overladen with peel either! But this home made one looks so much better, and I can imagine it being just perfect with brandy custard!

  11. CK

    Oh yummm! It looks delicious and so moist. I bet it’s gorgeous with the brandy butter. Definitely need a sleep after all that richness! Thanks for sharing a recipe from the BSB Cookbook, which I would love to have, but don’t as yet.

  12. Melanie

    Rather than making two small cakes, can you make one big one? Thanks!

  13. Anannya

    I was wondering if we could substitute cooled sugar syrup for Treacle? Would it be any different?

  14. darren wright

    have you tried steaming this one rather than baking it?

  15. Abbie Allen

    Hi,
    I too love the Bourke St Bakery Cookbook and have been meaning to make the Christmas Cake for the last couple of years but always end up leaving it too late. This year I managed to get it all together in the time, I am at the end of the fruit soaking time and plan to bake the cakes this weekend. I was hoping you might be able to tell me the dimensions of your tin? the recipe calls for 12.5cms tins, closest I can seem to find is 5 inches, the thing I need to know is the depth of the tin? Hoping you can help.
    Thanks!

  16. Cassandra Stuart

    Hi. I was hoping you could tell us the dimensions of your cakes? Thank you!