Stir up Sunday – The Ultimate Christmas Cake Recipe

Ultimate Christmas Cake Recipe - Tomorrow is a New Day.co.uk

Here is my ultimate Christmas cake recipe that I have perfected over the years.  I will give you all my secret tips for a foolproof Christmas cake.

We love Christmas in our house, I even have an area of the garage dedicated to our Christmas lights and decorations.  Normally the first weekend of December everything goes up, the tree, lights, sparkly little Reindeers in the garden, tinsel around the stairs and lots of glitter everywhere!

Over the years we have created our own special traditions and part of these is ‘Stir up Sunday’ which happens on the last weekend before Advent.  The idea is that you prepare baked items such as Christmas puddings and cakes so that they can mature over the following weeks and by the time it is Christmas they will have a depth of flavour that was well worth the wait.

We love to use this Christmas cake recipe and our tradition is to make a wish while we are stirring the cake, everyone gets a turn with the wooden spoon in the giant bowl that is packed full of so many ingredients you can barely move the spoon.  When my daughters were little they had to stand on a chair and would just wiggle the spoon as it was so hard to stir!  Watching them make their very special wish is a treasured memory I will never forget.  To make it extra special I always put on Christmas music and we have a little dance around the kitchen as well.  Once you have put the cake in the oven (it cooks for a very long time!) relax with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the amazing smells that spread throughout the house.

My recipe is a culmination of recipes I have collected over the years and inspired especially from two of my favourite books:

Couture Wedding Cakes by Mich Turner

The Art of Royal Icing by Eddie Spence

If you make this cake please tag me on instagram @newdaynomistakes or #newdaynomistakes I would love to see all your wonderful bakes!

Good luck, be patient and most of all enjoy this wonderful tradition.
P.S. If you are reading this and Stir up Sunday has already gone, don’t panic this recipe will still work well up to a week before Christmas!

The Ultimate Christmas Cake Recipe

AuthorLouiseCategoryDifficultyBeginner

I love this recipe and use it every year when making our Christmas cakes, this delicious fruity cake is wonderful when covered in marzipan and icing but can be equally lovely simply decorated with whole almonds.

Please note -  you need to start preparations up to 24-72 hours before baking, trust me it's worth it!  

This recipe will fill a 7" round cake tin.

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time30 minsCook Time3 hrs 30 minsTotal Time4 hrs

 190 g Currants
 150 g Sultanas
 150 g Raisins
 150 g Glace Cherries, washed and cut in half
 90 g Mixed Peel
 60 g Ground Almonds
 1 Lemon (Zest and Juice)
 1 Orange (Zest and Juice)
 85 ml Brandy or Rum (I have a spiced Rum that I use)
 230 g Plain Flour
 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
 1 tsp Mixed Spice
 180 g Unsalted Butter (softened)
 180 g Soft Light Brown Sugar
 170 ml Eggs at Room Temperature (approximately 3 large eggs - but weigh to check), lightly beaten
 1 tbsp Black Treacle or Molasses
 100 g Whole Blanched Almonds to decorate (optional)

Preparation (24-72 Hours before Baking)
1

Weigh the currants, sultanas and raisins then rinse in lukewarm water using a large colander, strain through and pat dry with a tea towel or clean cloth.

Then weigh the mixed peel and glace cherries, rinse thoroughly and dry in the same way, making sure to remove the sugar syrup from the fruit. Cut the cherries in half.

2

Combine all the fruit in a large bowl with the zest and juice of both the lemon and orange. Add the brandy or rum depending on your choice. Give everything a good stir then cover the bowl in cling film and leave overnight or for longer if you have time.

Baking Day - Start in the morning!
3

First put on some lovely Christmas music to get you in the mood!

Preheat the oven to 140°C or 120°C (fan). Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Take out your tin (I recommend a tin with a removable base). Grease and line the tin with baking paper making sure to allow the paper to come up slightly higher than the tin on the side.

Sift the flour with the mixed spice and ground cinnamon and set aside. Use the creaming method* to beat together the butter and sugar and then add the eggs (beaten) slowly into the mixture - add a little at a time and add more once the egg is fully incorporated.

*creaming method simply means where you beat the sugar and butter together first until it is pale in colour and slightly fluffy then slowly add the eggs.

4

Add the sifted flour mixture a little at a time and fold carefully* until all the flour has been absorbed and the mixture resembles a light batter. Add the ground almonds and fold again. Stir in the molasses or black treacle and add the soaked fruit. Keep the brandy or rum that is left at the bottom of the bowl to add after the cake has cooked.

*folding is where you make a figure 8 with your spoon in the mixture while you are mixing.

Make a wish!
5

The cake is ready to go into the tin but before you do, gather everyone in the house and each take turns to have stir and make a special Christmas wish, it might be a message to Santa, a wish for the future or to remember loved ones who are no longer with us. Enjoy this special moment, take pictures and videos and have lots of hugs!

Time to Bake
6

The bowl will be heavier than you think so I often get help with lifting the bowl or you can ladle the mixture in if you find it easier. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin* carefully and evenly.

Optional: Add the whole almonds in a decorative way starting from the middle working to the outside (don't do this if you are planning on adding marzipan and icing to your cake).

*Top tip from Cake Decorator Eddie Spence MBE - once most of the mixture is in the tin you are often left with a little bit of batter - do not add this to the cake otherwise you will have a section of un-fruited cake at the top of the cake which will ruin your beautiful fruited cake aesthetic.

7

Another top tip from Eddie - as the cake is going to be in the oven for hours, tie some thick cardboard (cut up a packing box) or folded newspaper around the outside of the tin and tie with string, this will protect the sides from burning. You can also add a cardboard circle on the top for extra protection.

Put the cake in the oven and cook for around 3.5 hours or until you insert a skewer and it comes out clean*. If you are using the cardboard cover remove it 40 mins before the cake is due to come out the oven. Don't worry if your cake is taking longer than this, trust your instinct and allow the cake to cook fully.

*this is a very important step, make sure to check in the middle where the cake can often still be raw.

8

Remove from the oven and while still in the tin create some small holes with your skewer and brush over the reserved brandy or rum, cover with a tea towel and leave for at least another 3 hours to allow the liquor to fully soak into the warm cake.

Store and Feed
9

Remove from the tin and once the cake is cooled double wrap in greaseproof paper and then kitchen foil. Once a week in the run up to Christmas feed the cake by brushing a small amount (20ml) of rum or brandy over the cake. Make sure to wrap the cake carefully each time.

When you are ready to have the cake, simply uncover, decorate (or leave plain) and enjoy!

Louise Sinclair - www.tomorrowisanewday.co.uk

 

Ingredients

 190 g Currants
 150 g Sultanas
 150 g Raisins
 150 g Glace Cherries, washed and cut in half
 90 g Mixed Peel
 60 g Ground Almonds
 1 Lemon (Zest and Juice)
 1 Orange (Zest and Juice)
 85 ml Brandy or Rum (I have a spiced Rum that I use)
 230 g Plain Flour
 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
 1 tsp Mixed Spice
 180 g Unsalted Butter (softened)
 180 g Soft Light Brown Sugar
 170 ml Eggs at Room Temperature (approximately 3 large eggs - but weigh to check), lightly beaten
 1 tbsp Black Treacle or Molasses
 100 g Whole Blanched Almonds to decorate (optional)

Directions

Preparation (24-72 Hours before Baking)
1

Weigh the currants, sultanas and raisins then rinse in lukewarm water using a large colander, strain through and pat dry with a tea towel or clean cloth.

Then weigh the mixed peel and glace cherries, rinse thoroughly and dry in the same way, making sure to remove the sugar syrup from the fruit. Cut the cherries in half.

2

Combine all the fruit in a large bowl with the zest and juice of both the lemon and orange. Add the brandy or rum depending on your choice. Give everything a good stir then cover the bowl in cling film and leave overnight or for longer if you have time.

Baking Day - Start in the morning!
3

First put on some lovely Christmas music to get you in the mood!

Preheat the oven to 140°C or 120°C (fan). Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Take out your tin (I recommend a tin with a removable base). Grease and line the tin with baking paper making sure to allow the paper to come up slightly higher than the tin on the side.

Sift the flour with the mixed spice and ground cinnamon and set aside. Use the creaming method* to beat together the butter and sugar and then add the eggs (beaten) slowly into the mixture - add a little at a time and add more once the egg is fully incorporated.

*creaming method simply means where you beat the sugar and butter together first until it is pale in colour and slightly fluffy then slowly add the eggs.

4

Add the sifted flour mixture a little at a time and fold carefully* until all the flour has been absorbed and the mixture resembles a light batter. Add the ground almonds and fold again. Stir in the molasses or black treacle and add the soaked fruit. Keep the brandy or rum that is left at the bottom of the bowl to add after the cake has cooked.

*folding is where you make a figure 8 with your spoon in the mixture while you are mixing.

Make a wish!
5

The cake is ready to go into the tin but before you do, gather everyone in the house and each take turns to have stir and make a special Christmas wish, it might be a message to Santa, a wish for the future or to remember loved ones who are no longer with us. Enjoy this special moment, take pictures and videos and have lots of hugs!

Time to Bake
6

The bowl will be heavier than you think so I often get help with lifting the bowl or you can ladle the mixture in if you find it easier. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin* carefully and evenly.

Optional: Add the whole almonds in a decorative way starting from the middle working to the outside (don't do this if you are planning on adding marzipan and icing to your cake).

*Top tip from Cake Decorator Eddie Spence MBE - once most of the mixture is in the tin you are often left with a little bit of batter - do not add this to the cake otherwise you will have a section of un-fruited cake at the top of the cake which will ruin your beautiful fruited cake aesthetic.

7

Another top tip from Eddie - as the cake is going to be in the oven for hours, tie some thick cardboard (cut up a packing box) or folded newspaper around the outside of the tin and tie with string, this will protect the sides from burning. You can also add a cardboard circle on the top for extra protection.

Put the cake in the oven and cook for around 3.5 hours or until you insert a skewer and it comes out clean*. If you are using the cardboard cover remove it 40 mins before the cake is due to come out the oven. Don't worry if your cake is taking longer than this, trust your instinct and allow the cake to cook fully.

*this is a very important step, make sure to check in the middle where the cake can often still be raw.

8

Remove from the oven and while still in the tin create some small holes with your skewer and brush over the reserved brandy or rum, cover with a tea towel and leave for at least another 3 hours to allow the liquor to fully soak into the warm cake.

Store and Feed
9

Remove from the tin and once the cake is cooled double wrap in greaseproof paper and then kitchen foil. Once a week in the run up to Christmas feed the cake by brushing a small amount (20ml) of rum or brandy over the cake. Make sure to wrap the cake carefully each time.

When you are ready to have the cake, simply uncover, decorate (or leave plain) and enjoy!

Louise Sinclair - www.tomorrowisanewday.co.uk

Ultimate Christmas Cake Recipe

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