Traditionally Christmas cakes and puddings were made months before Christmas.  I don’t ever seem to be that organised and intend to do mine tomorrow. It made me realise that it’s also time to hunt out some Christmas recipes for you.  I’m surprised this one is titled ‘Traditional Christmas Cake’ as the old, traditional, recipes don’t have butter and definitely don’t have chocolate.  It’s a much more modern version.

CHRISTMAS CAKE – Dutch Fruit Cake

The first Christmas after I got married, my husband had to work on Christmas Day so I met him at lunchtime and we had a picnic lunch in the Botanical Gardens, which was a lovely way to celebrate our first Christmas together.  That first Christmas also meant my first Christmas cake baking effort.  It was a disaster, a soggy undercooked cake – ruined. When I told Mum she smiled and told me to mashing it all up in a bowl add a cup of cold tea and recook it as a pudding and to this day I’m still amazed that it worked.  My cooking improved somewhat after that and this Dutch Fruit Cake became the recipe I used for many years.  Adding the mixed peel and nuts and brushing the cake with brandy while still hot makes the cake a little more Christmasy.Dutch Fruit Cake croppedDUTCH FRUIT CAKE

  • 125g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 125g currants
  • 250g raisins
  • 375g sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • lemon juice
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 dessertspoon treacle or golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon bi-carb soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling water

Line a cake tin with a layer of brown paper and a layer of baking paper.  Boil together butter, sugar, water, fruit, spices, lemon juice for 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  When cool stir in beaten eggs, flours, treacle and lastly bi-carb soda dissolved in boiling water.   Bake in a moderate oven 180o for 2 hours.  Mixed peel and nuts can be added if like.  For a Christmas touch – when still hot from the oven pierce the cake with a skewer and brush with brandy.