We have lots of traditions that we share each year in the Christmas season, this cake is one of them. I have made this same recipe every year for 15 years. When I make this every member of the family contributes a ‘good luck stir and Christmas wish’ to the batter before I pour it into the tin to bake. I like to make this at the start of December, and let it sit for a few weeks, and we always cut the cake and share our first slice on my son’s birthday which is 2 days before Christmas Day. Did I mention how much I love traditions at Christmas?!
The recipe has a quirky Australian twist with the addition of beer to soak the fruit instead of liqueur. It gives a nice yeasty flavour to the cake. We don’t use the same beer every year, selecting the beer is my husbands job. He generally chooses a boutique beer (this year we used Boa’s Bind Amber Ale from Sail & Anchor – from Fremantle here in WA)
The ginger is the other flavour that I really love and makes this recipe stand apart, I love eating a slice of this and coming across a little gingery nugget of flavour.
The cake is made in two stages; on day one you chop and soak the fruit. You then leave the fruit mix overnight (or two nights if you like).
The second stage involves finishing the batter and then baking. Make sure you choose a day when you are at home for most of the day for this – as the baking time is up to four hours. If it is hot weather I sometimes bake in the evening. The smell of the cake cooking instantly sends me into Christmas mode.
There is a little bit of preparation time involved with this one, the Thermo does most of the hard work for you (fruit chopping and butter creaming) but the actual mixing is done by hand. You will need a really large bowl and really solid wooden spoon. Make sure you line the tin properly with three layers of baking paper. Sometimes lining the tin seems to be more fiddly than the cake making itself, but don’t skip this step! It is important to protect the cake while it bakes.
Enjoy the process, bake this cake with love, and share with joy at Christmas time with family and loved ones. It is special
- 250 g dates
- 125g dried apricots
- 250h raisins
- 250g sultanas
- 125g mixed peel
- 60g glace cherries
- 60g glace ginger
- 375ml beer
- 250g butter (at room temperature)
- 400g honey (1 and ¼ cups)
- 3 eggs
- 1½ cups SR wholemeal flour
- 1½ cups plain wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Blanched almonds for decorating (optional)
- Place dates and apricots into the Tmx bowl and chop speed 6-7 for 10-15 seconds until diced. Remove and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, cherries and ginger to the Tmx and chop speed 6-7 for 10 seconds. Add to the dates and apricots in the large mixing bowl.
- Pour the beer over the fruit, mix well with a spoon and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel, and refrigerate overnight.
- Prepare your tin. You will need a 25cm round spring form tin. Grease and line the tin with three layers of baking paper (greasing in between each layer) This may seem fiddly but it is important as the cake has a long baking time.
- Put butterfly attachment into the Tmx bowl and add butter and honey. Cream together speed 4 for 15 seconds.
- Add eggs and combine (with butterfly still in) for a further 10 seconds at speed 4.
- Add the butter mixture to the fruit mixture and stir by hand. You will need a sturdy wooden spoon for this!
- Add the mixed spice and two flours, in two batches, stirring in between to combine.
- Pour/dollop the cake mix into the prepared tin and smooth the top with your spoon. Decorate with blanched almonds if you like.
- Bake the cake in a slow oven - 150 degrees, or slightly less if you oven tends to run hot. The cake will take approximately four hours to cook, after 2 hours cover the top with foil to prevent it over browning. Check the cake often in the last 2 hours of cooking time. It can vary depending on your oven. Test with a skewer in the deepest part of the cake.
- Once cooked cool in the tin, overnight. Remove the tin the next day and store in the fridge. You can sprinkle a little brandy over the top while it is being stored.
- The cake will keep for up to three months. I like to wait about 3 or 4 weeks after cooking the cake before we start eating it, just to let the flavours develop.