This year I haven’t made my usual Christmas Cake or a Dundee Cake so, with just a week to go until Christmas I have decided to use a trusted recipe from Delia Smith for a last-minute Christmas cake that has mincemeat in it. I actually came across a few other recipes using mincemeat in Christmas cake and had almost decided to try one of those, but then I came across this particular recipe and I have to say I thought it looked so good.
The recipe actually uses dried fruits as well as mincemeat and does take a while to make, as the fruit needs to be soaked. But the fruit can be soaked overnight and the cake can then be made the next day in just a few hours.
With brandy as well and various nuts too this really is a great alternative to my usual cake. Once baked it can be stored in an airtight container until Christmas Day, so making a week in advance is fine. Of course it would also be ideal made just the day before too.
I am very pleased with how my cake turned out, it looks very good. Of course I haven’t tasted it yet, since it has to be saved until Christmas Day, but it smells wonderfully rich and fruity.
In the original recipe the ingredients are were shown just in metric measures. I have also converted to cups to help those who don’t use the metric system.
- 150ml(1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) brandy
- 400g(1 1/3 cups) mincemeat
- 110g(2/3 cup) soft dried prunes or soft dried plums, roughly chopped
- 50g(10 whole) glace cherries, chopped into quarters
- 175g(1 1/4 cups) dried mixed fruit
- 50g(1/3 cup) mixed chopped peel
- 225g(1 3/4 cups) self raising flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/4 salt
- 3 large eggs(extra large in USA)
- 150g(10 1/2 tbsp) spreadable, or softened, butter
- 150g(3/4 cup) dark brown muscovado sugar(light brown would be fine too)
- 50g(1/3 cup) brazil nuts, chopped
- 50g(1/2 cup) mixed nuts,chopped
- zest from 1 orange
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 heaped tbsp apricot jam, for glaze
- 1 tbsp brandy, for glaze
- 20 walnuts for the top
- 20 pecans for the top
- 20 brazil nuts for the top
- In a large bowl place the mincemeat, prunes, cherries, mixed fruit, mixed chopped peel and the brandy and stir to mix together thoroughly.
- Cover the bowl and leave to soak for at least 4 hours, overnight would be good too.
- Grease an 8 inch(20 cm) loose bottomed, deep, cake tin and line the sides and bottom with parchment paper. Using a springform pan will be fine, but the parchment paper should show above the top of the tin, in case it isn’t deep enough.
- Preheat the oven to 170C/340F.
- In a large bowl place the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt and stir to combine.
- Add the butter, sugar and eggs and beat(with a hand mixer if you have one) until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
- Gradually fold in the soaked fruit, including any remaining liquid, the nuts and the zest, until the batter is all mixed together.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread, with the back of a spoon, to make a level top.
- Place the 60, or so, whole nuts on the top of the batter, in whichever pattern you might wish to make.
- Place the cake in the oven, and cover with a double thickness of parchment paper, with a hole cut in the middle, and allow to bake for about 2 hours, until the top is springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the tin and brush with heated apricot jam, mixed with the spoon of brandy, to glaze the nuts.
- Remove the cake from the tin and cool completely, on a wire rack. Then wrap in aluminium foil and store in an airtight container until required at Christmas.