Mary Berry Christmas Cake Recipe

I often find myself reminiscing about my days studying culinary arts, particularly during the festive season. Back in my early days, inspired by Dame Mary Rosa Alleyne Hunnings, a remarkable English food writer, chef, baker, and television presenter, I developed a deep passion for baking. Like Mary Berry, I was always encouraged in domestic science classes, and later pursued my culinary dreams in renowned culinary schools. Today, I share with you one of the classic recipes that remind me of my learning days, with a touch of Mary Berry magic – the Christmas Cake.

Mary Berry Christmas Cake Recipe Overview:

This delectable Mary Berry Christmas Cake brings together the warmth of traditional festive flavors combined with a rich blend of dried fruits soaked in spirits. The soft, moist interior paired with a perfectly golden crust is sure to become the centerpiece of your Christmas table. The cake requires about 4 hours of cooking and will serve approximately 12 to 14 slices. But the fun continues. Decorating it with a smooth layer of marzipan and royal icing is where the true festivity begins!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • Raisins (175g/6oz): A classic fruit that adds moisture.
  • Natural Glacé Cherries (350g/12oz): Halved, rinsed, and dried; these give a delightful, juicy bite.
  • Currants (500g/1lb 2oz): For a rich, dense texture.
  • Sultanas (350g/12oz): Sweet and plump, elevating the fruity flavor.
  • Brandy or Sherry (150ml/¼pt): Choose your spirit; also keep some extra for feeding the cake later.
  • Orange Zest (2 oranges): Freshly zested to infuse a citrusy aroma.
  • Butter (250g/9oz): Ensure it’s softened for a smooth mixture.
  • Light or Dark Muscovado Sugar (250g/9oz): Adding depth and a molasses touch.
  • Free-range Eggs (4 large): Best if at room temperature for a light texture.
  • Black Treacle (1 tbsp): Giving the cake its characteristic rich dark color.
  • Blanched Almonds (75g/3oz): Chopped, these add a subtle nutty crunch.
  • Plain Flour (275g/10oz): The base for our cake structure.
  • Mixed Spice (1½ tsp): For that aromatic Christmas flavor.

For the covering:

  • Apricot Jam (about 3 tbsp): Warmed and sieved, for a sticky glaze.
  • Icing Sugar: For dusting.
  • Marzipan (675g/1lb 8oz): For a sweet, soft layer.

For the royal icing:

  • Egg Whites (3 free-range eggs): For a frothy mixture.
  • Icing Sugar (675g/1½lb): Sifted to ensure a smooth icing.
  • Lemon Juice (3 tsp): Adding a hint of zestiness.
  • Glycerine (1½ tsp): For a glossy finish.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1. Line an 8-inch deep cake tin with double parchment paper.
  2. Mix sultanas, raisins, glacé cherries, and currants in a big bowl. It’s best to wait about 10 minutes after adding the brandy or wine.
  3. In another bowl, melt butter and mix with muscovado sugar until foamy. Gradually add in eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is well-incorporated.
  4. Stir in the black treacle, followed by the chopped almonds.
  5. Gently fold in the flour and mixed spice. Once combined, add in the soaked fruit mixture and orange zest.
  6. When the cake tin is ready, pour the batter into it. Bake for four hours, or until a skewer put into the center comes out clean.
  7. Let it cool in the pan after baking. Once cooled, poke holes in the cake using a skewer and feed it with some extra brandy or sherry.
  8. For the covering: Brush the cake with warmed apricot jam. Dust a surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan. Lay it over the cake and smooth it out.
  9. For the royal icing: Whisk egg whites until frothy. Gradually add in sifted icing sugar, lemon juice, and glycerine. Whisk until smooth. Spread this over the marzipan layer of the cake.

Also Try: Mary Berry Carrot Cake Recipe

FAQs:

Q: Can I substitute the brandy with another spirit?

Yes, you can use rum or whisky as an alternative. Just ensure you like the flavor, as it will be quite pronounced.

Q: How long does this Christmas cake last?

It can last for a few weeks if kept in a container that keeps air out. Remember to occasionally feed it with brandy or sherry to keep it moist.

Q: Do I need to use both light and dark muscovado sugar?

The choice depends on your preference. Taste and color are improved with dark muscovado.

Q: Can I make this cake without alcohol?

Absolutely! Substitute the alcohol with fruit juice, such as orange or apple, to soak the dried fruits.

Q: Can I add other dried fruits to the mix?

Dried apricots, figs, and prunes work too. Just ensure the total weight remains roughly the same.

Conclusion:

Drawing inspiration from Mary Berry, this Christmas cake is a blend of tradition, flavor, and festivity. It’s not just a cake, but a journey of flavors, textures, and aromas that resonate with the spirit of Christmas. Enjoy baking and even more, sharing it with loved ones!

Christmas Cake Recipe Mary Berry

Mary Berry Christmas Cake Recipe

Cook Time 4 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 14 Slices

Ingredients
  

For the cake:

  • 175/ g 6oz Raisins
  • 350 g 12oz Natural Glacé Cherries
  • 500 g 1lb 2oz Currants
  • 350 g 12oz Sultanas
  • 150 ml ¼pt Brandy or Sherry
  • 2 Oranges Orange Zest
  • 250 g 9oz Butter
  • 250 g 9oz Light or Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 4 large Free-range Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Black Treacle
  • 75 g 3oz Blanched Almonds
  • 275 g 10oz Plain Flour
  • tsp Mixed Spice

For the covering:

  • 3 tbsp Apricot Jam Warmed and sieved, for a sticky glaze.
  • Icing Sugar For dusting.
  • 675 g 1lb 8oz Marzipan For a sweet, soft layer.

For the royal icing:

  • 3 Egg Whites For a frothy mixture.
  • 675 g 1½lb Icing Sugar Sifted to ensure a smooth icing.
  • 3 tsp Lemon Juice Adding a hint of zestiness.
  • tsp Glycerine For a glossy finish.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1. Line an 8-inch deep cake tin with double parchment paper.
  • Mix sultanas, raisins, glacé cherries, and currants in a big bowl. It’s best to wait about 10 minutes after adding the brandy or wine.
  • In another bowl, melt butter and mix with muscovado sugar until foamy. Gradually add in eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is well-incorporated.
  • Stir in the black treacle, followed by the chopped almonds.
  • Gently fold in the flour and mixed spice. Once combined, add in the soaked fruit mixture and orange zest.
  • When the cake tin is ready, pour the batter into it. Bake for four hours, or until a skewer put into the center comes out clean.
  • Let it cool in the pan after baking. Once cooled, poke holes in the cake using a skewer and feed it with some extra brandy or sherry.
  • For the covering: Brush the cake with warmed apricot jam. Dust a surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan. Lay it over the cake and smooth it out.
  • For the royal icing: Whisk egg whites until frothy. Gradually add in sifted icing sugar, lemon juice, and glycerine. Whisk until smooth. Spread this over the marzipan layer of the cake.

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