RECIPE: Simple but spectacular Christmas cake for Waterford families

Helen Keown


Helen Keown


Gingergirl: Simple Chrismtas cake

Simple but spectacular Christmas cake for Waterford families

Welcome to all about food.

I must say, I would happily put up our Christmas tree now but I think my husband would strongly object I’m so in love with Christmas that my two young daughters (aged seven and nine) have told me that they think I get even more excited than they do and I think they might be right. Happy baking!

It seems that most of us are moving away from the larger Christmas cakes, which is probably not a big surprise with the increase of availability for festive treats and the smaller family size, amongst other factors, at play.

In my own family, only one of my daughters and I actually like Christmas cake – I love a small slice with an espresso on Christmas morning; stealing a few moments to collect my thoughts before Christmas dinner preparation gets underway. This recipe is one I have altered to suit my own taste. Like you, I want some tradition with a little twist.

Do note that this cake is so full of flavour that you can wait until a few days before Christmas to make it. Simply wrap up the cooled cake and store in an air-tight container until you can resist it no more!

Festive loaf cake
150g raisins
50g dried cranberries or dried sour cherries
50g dried apricots, chopped
100g dried figs, chopped
1 orange, zested and juiced
Zest of one lemon
250ml brandy
115g butter, plus extra melted for the tin
115g muscovado sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
120g of self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
60g bread crumbs
150g dark chocolate chips
80g chopped pecans and hazelnuts
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Icing sugar, to serve

* Tip the fruit into a bowl with the orange juice and zest and 150ml of the brandy. Stir well, then leave at room temperature for 2 hours for the fruit to plump up.
* Heat your oven to 150˚c fan. Brush a 900g loaf tin with the melted butter and line with baking parchment. Beat the muscovado sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the fruit, chocolate and the rest of the ingredients except for the remaining brandy and icing sugar. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 mins to 1 hr 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the remaining brandy. Leave to completely cool before storing. Before serving, dust liberally with icing sugar.