Christmas Cake Making – 10 November 2013


Christmas is just around the corner, so the seasonal making and baking has begun at Burdett Towers. In this first post counting down to the big day, I publish my father’s traditional Christmas Cake recipe.

A mixing bowl sits on a kitchen surface.

Christmas is less than two months away, so the making and baking can begin. (Photo: © Andrew Burdett 2013)


  • 12oz sultanas
  • 12oz currants
  • 3oz glace cherries, quartered
  • 5oz candied peel
  • 2oz flaked almonds
  • 2oz ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice


Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, so that the ground almonds separate the fruits from each other. Add a good splash of brandy – probably about 1fl oz. Stir and cover with cling-film. Leave overnight.

A bottle of brandy is poured into a mixture-bowl filled with fruit.

Brandy is the secret Christmas ingredient which completes this fruit-cake mixture. (Photo: © Andrew Burdett 2013)

The next day, pre-heat the over to 275ºF / Gas Mark 1 / 140ºC.

Grease and line an 8″ loose-bottomed cake tin with a double thickness of greaseproof paper, leaving a ‘collar’ at the top.

Using an electric mixer, beat 8oz unsalted butter until creamy (it should go almost white). Slowly add 8oz caster sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Have ready 4 eggs (size 3), lightly beaten, and 8oz plain flour, sieved. Add the beaten eggs very gradually (if it starts to curdle, add a spoonful of the flour). Next, fold in the flour gently but thoroughly.

Now, fold this mixture into the previously-prepared dried-fruits until thoroughly combined. Don’t forget to let everyone have a stir while they make a wish!

Spoon into the prepared cake tin and cover with a double-circle of greaseproof paler, in which has been cut a hole.

Place on the middle shelf of the oven. It will take about four-and-a-half hours, but depends on how dark you like it.

Test by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean and there are no sizzling noises, then it is cooked. When ready, remove from cake tin, turn on to wire rack, and leave to cool.

To store, wrap in greaseproof paper first, and then in foil – otherwise, the acid in the fruit will corrode the aluminium. Unwrap in a few weeks’ time, and ice in time for Christmas.

A Christmas cake sits on a plate, ready to be iced.

Dad’s trademark Christmas cake, ready to be wrapped and stored until icing, in the last week before Christmas. (Photo: © Andrew Burdett 2013)

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.