The best part about Christmas is the cake, and the best part about Christmas cake is that the earlier you make it, the better it tastes on the day! This is truly our favourite kind of baking – do it when you have time, far in advance, and reap the rewards later!
From many years of making many cakes, we’ve gathered the best advice from our test kitchen to help you out, so…
How to make the perfect Christmas cake
Take your time
A Christmas cake isn’t something to be rushed, so allow plenty of time to make it. You can make your cake weeks or months before Christmas, and this will give it a rich, matured flavour.
Soak the fruit
Soaking the fruit in brandy or fruit juice for 12 hours before you bake will plump the fruit and help your cake stay nice and moist.
Lining the tin
- Line the cake tin thoroughly. We use three layers of parchment paper for the inside lining and two layers on the outside.
- Also, be sure to grease it well!
- You want your cake to cook slowly and evenly. By wrapping the tin in paper and placing greaseproof paper over the top of the cake, you are ensuring that the edges of the cake don’t burn.
- Before baking, place a tin with two pints of water in it at the bottom of the oven. This will keep the air moist in the oven and will produce a better cake.
- Depending on the size of your cake, it should take 2-4 hours to cook. If you can turn your oven off and leave the cake in it when it has finished cooking, it will cool more slowly. We like to make the cake in the afternoon and then leave it in the oven overnight to cool.
- If you have a fan oven, reduce the temperature. Fans ovens circulate a dryer heat, which can sometimes compromise the moisture of a cake.
- When the cake is cool, sprinkle a few tablespoons of brandy, whiskey or orange juice over the top.
- Wrap the cake in two layers of parchment paper and one layer of foil, and store it in an airtight tin. Every few weeks, make a few holes in the top of the cake and pour a little more of your chosen liquid.