Creole Christmas cake

Soft brown sugar lends a lovely treacle-like taste to this rich, festive cake by Delia Smith
By Delia Smith
Creole Christmas cake
  • Rating:
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the pre-soaking

  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 3 tbsp cherry brandy
  • 3 tbsp port
  • 1.5 tsp angostura bitters
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp ground cloves
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp molasses sugar
  • 50 g glacé cherries, chopped
  • 450 g raisins
  • 225 g currants
  • 110 g no-need-to-soak pitted prunes, chopped
  • 110 g mixed candied peel
  • 50 g chopped mixed nuts

For the cake

  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 250 g demerara sugar
  • 250 g butter, at room temperature
  • 5 large eggs

Method

1. One week before you intend to bake the cake, measure out the rum, brandy, cherry brandy, port, bitters and 3 tablespoons water into a large saucepan. Then add the rest of the pre-soaking ingredients, ticking them with a pencil as you go to make sure nothing gets left out. Now stir and bring the mixture up to simmering point, then, keeping the heat low, simmer very gently for 15 minutes.


2. After that allow everything to cool completely, then pour the mixture into a large jar with a lid or an airtight plastic container and leave it in the fridge for seven days, shaking or stirring it around from time to time.


3. When you're ready to bake the cake, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C). All you do is measure out the flour, sugar and softened butter into a very large mixing bowl, then add the eggs and either whisk or beat with a wooden spoon until everything is blended.


4. Now gradually fold in the fruit mixture until it's all evenly distributed. Then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface with the back of the spoon.


5. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 hours without opening the door, then cover the cake with a double thickness of silicone paper and continue to bake it for a further hour or until the centre feels springy when lightly touched.


6. Cool the cake for 45 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling. When it's completely cold, wrap in double silicone paper and then foil and store in an airtight container. There's no need to feed this cake as it already has enough booze, but it does improve with keeping for about 1 month before cutting.


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