This is a speedy, easy Christmas Cake that requires no overnight fruit soaking. Its a fruit cake thats incredibly easy to make, with a rich, velvety texture thats full flavoured and moist it can be eaten plain. But no one turns away a slosh of custard!
Terrific made on the day, keeps for ages, and its just as delicious made with or without alcohol. Go wild with the decorations or keep it simple!
Im fussy about Christmas Cake because (speaking frankly) there are too many not-so-great-ones out there.Heres how I like / dont like my Christmas Cake:
- With or without alcohol cake has to be just as good with or without booze (I mostly make it without so it can be widely shared!);
- Not too much peel or citrus flavour Im just not a fan of biting into giant chunks of orange rind. I just like a subtle hint of citrus flavour;
Soft and velvety is how I like the texture to be when you slice through it its how good
fruit cakes should be. As opposed to crumbly with a muffin-like texture. I make muffins all year round, I dont want my Christmas Cake like that!
- Moist and fudgy but still distinctly cake like. Firmer than brownies but a similar fudginess in the middle. Some cakes I tried out this year were far too dry.
- NOT dense and brick like some Christmas Cake recipes are WAY too dense, and you feel like youre cutting into a block of firm fudge. No thank you!
- Decorating is optional!!The cake should be tasty enough and moist enough to eat plain, without any frosting / fondant or custard.
So if that sounds good to you, then I think youre really going to love this Christmas Cake!
This fruit cake uses a highly effective FAST fruit soaking method by heating in the microwave then soaking for just 1 hour. Works 100% perfectly!
What goes in Christmas Cake
You need a LOT of dried fruit and very little cake batter ingredients!!
Soaked Dried Fruit
Heres what you need for the Soaked Dried Fruit. The fruit is soaked in either apple juice OR a combination of apple juice and brandy (for those who like boozy Christmas Cake).
- Use any dried fruit you want as long as it weighs 855g / 30 oz in total. I likeless citrus peel because Im too scarred by all those times I bit into a huge piece of orange peel. Just not to my taste!
- Juice and/or booze for a traditional boozy Christmas Cake, just switch 1/3 of the apple juice with brandy.Can also sub apple juice with orange juice if you want a strongercitrus flavour.
Christmas Cake Batter
And heres what you need for the cake batter part. The cake has very little baking powder because its quite a dense cake. But its still got a distinct cake texture unlike some Christmas Cakes that areso dense, youd swear you were eating a block of fudge!
- Dark brown sugar makes the cake a rich dark brown colour. Can sub with normal brown sugar will make cake lighter (also looks nice as fruit stands out!)
- Molasses / golden syrup adds to the richness of flavour and colour of cake. Either is fine I interchange year on year;
- Walnuts sub with any nuts of choice, or leave it out completely;
- Oil AND butter oil is what gives this cake a superb moistness. Butter is for flavour!
The speedy way to soak fruit microwave with the soaking liquid, then stand for just 1 hour!
How to make Christmas Cake
And heres how the making part goes down.
The key step that makes this so much faster to make than other fruit cakes is thefruit soaking step:just microwave the dried fruit with juice and/or brandy, then stand for 1 hour to soak up the liquid!
Other than that, theres nothing tricky or unusual about how this fruit cake is made.
Because its a dense cake, it needs to be baked long and slow in order to cook it all the way through without drying out the edges and surface (without fussing with water baths). 3 hours 15 minutes, to be exact!
Christmas Cake Decoration ideas
A plain Christmas Cake does look like a big, dark brown block so it is nice to decorate it! Here are some ideas but remember, its purely decorative. This fruit cake is full flavoured and very moist so unlike other cakes, you dont need a frosting to make it ultra delish to eat!
- Simple just dust with icing sugar, or pile on cherries or other fruit and dust with icing sugar;
- Christmas TREE decorations yes, really. Inedible decorations is FINE!!
- Drippy white glaze use the recipe in this Lemon Cake with Drippy Glazebut skip the lemon in the glaze. Flip cake upside down for a perfectly level surface;
- Traditional white fondant(pictured above) I know some people really dont like fondant. Too many bad wedding cake experiences!! But nowadays, store bought fondant is actually much nicer than it was in the past. It just tastes like a softish sheet of plain sweet frosting.See below the recipe card for a step by step visual of how to apply the white fondant on your ChristmasCake.
Pictured cake is the 2nd time in my life Ive used fondant. So if I can do it, you can do it too!
How to serve Christmas Cake
This Christmas Fruit Cake is rich and moist, with a ton of flavour from the fruit so its absolutely delish eaten plain. No frosting, no fondant nothing needed and its certainly how I pick away at the leftovers for weeks and weeks!
But if you really want to make it special, serve it with custard. Homemade custard, if you can. But if you opt for store bought, do my little pimping up trick just stir in some vanilla bean paste. The little black specks gives it a little extra special look and it does wonders to freshen up the flavour too!
And lastly, youll be very happy to know this keeps for weeks and weeks! 3 months in the fridge, a year in the freezer.
Will yours last that long??! Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Christmas Cake EASY moist fruit cake
Recipe video above. This is a speedy Christmas Cake that requires no overnight fruit soaking. It's a fruit cake that's incredibly easy to make, with a rich, velvety texture that's full flavoured and so moist it can be eaten plain! (But no one turns away a slosh of custard!) Just as good made on the day or weeks later.
Fast soaked fruit (Note 1):
- 300 g raisins
- 150 g diced dried apricots (, roughly chopped)
- 75 g mixed peel
- 150 g glace cherries (, roughly chopped)
- 180 g dates chopped
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp apple juice 280ml ((or 1 part brandy, 2 parts juice))
- 115 g butter (( 8 tbsp, 1 US stick))
- 1.5 cup packed dark brown sugar ((350g) (Note 3))
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil ((or canola, peanut, grapeseed))
- 3 tbsp molasses or golden syrup ((Note 4))
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 2/3 cup (250g) plain flour (all purpose flour)
- 3/4 cup walnuts chopped (, optional)
For serving (optional)
- 500ml / 1 pint pouring custard (, homemade or store bought (Note 5))
White Christmas Cake decoration (optional)
- 250g / 8 oz "ready to roll" marzipan
- 250g / 8 oz "ready to roll" white fondant
- Icing sugar, for dusting ((powdered sugar))
Other Decorating Options (optional)
- Cherries dusted with icing sugar
- Drippy white glaze (Note )
Fast Soaked Fruit:
- Place dried fruit and juice/brandy in a large microwavable container. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes on high or until hot.
- Cover and set aside for 1 hour (to plump up/soak and cool).
- Preheat oven to 160C / 320F (140C fan). Grease and line a 21 22 cm / 8 9 round pan with baking paper (parchment paper).
- Using an electric beater, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute on speed 5).
- Add oil and molasses, beat until combined.
- Add salt, spices and baking powder beat until incorporated.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated
- Stir in the flour.
- When mostly incorporated, stir in the fruit mix (including all the extra liquid in bowl) and walnuts (if using).
- Pour into cake pan, cover with foil and bake for 3 hours 15 minutes, removing foil the last 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
- Cake is moist and so full flavoured, it can be eaten plain. But see below for decorating and serving ideas (traditionally served with pouring custard).
Cutting: Either cut into thin wedges, or cut cake into thin strips (2cm / 0.75" or so), then cut those strips into serving size pieces.
Christmas Cake Decorating options:
Traditional White Christmas Cake Marzipan and fondant, see Decorating Note.
Simple pile top with fresh cherries or other fruit, dust with icing sugar (powdered sugar). Wrap a ribbon around the cake for extra touch!
Drippy white glaze use the glaze in this Lemon Cake recipe, but leave out the lemon juice (ie make a plain sweet white glaze). Flip cake upside down for flat surface then glaze per that recipe.
Serving serve with custard for a traditional experience! Either homemade custard or store bought pouring custard (jazz it up by mixing in vanilla seed paste!).
1. Dried fruit any fruit of choice can be used as long as it totals 855g / 30oz and its finely chopped. Combination Ive used is to my taste I do not like my fruit cake too citrusy (hate biting into big chunks of orange peel!). I like having variety for flavour.
2. Juice / brandy this cake tastes just as good made with or without alcohol, it comes down to personal taste. I usually make it without because Christmas Cake stretches far and I want everyone to be able to eat it.
If you want to use brandy, switch 1/3 cup fo the juice for brandy.
Juice I like using apple juice for its neutral flavour. If you like citrus flavour, use orange juice.
3. Dark brown sugar makes the cake a rich dark brown colour. Can sub with normal brown sugar will make cake lighter (also looks nice as fruit stands out!)
4. Molasses / golden syrup adds to the richness of flavour and colour of cake. Either is fine I interchange year on year.
5. Custard homemade pouring custard recipe here (Creme Anglaise).if you use store bought, pimping it up goes a long way to make it a bit special! Just stir in a bit of vanilla bean paste which will give it those lovely little black vanilla bean specks and improve the flavour.
(PS Difference between homemade and store bought is richness. Homemade custard has a much more luxurious mouthfeel)
6. Serving cake is moist and so full flavoured its wonderful eaten plain. But for an extra special touch, serve with custard either homemade or use store bought pouring custard (jazz it up by stirring in vanilla bean paste!)
7. Storage Ive kept it for a month in an airtight container in the fridge and it was good as it was freshly made (at room temperature). Having researched online, looks like 2 to 3 months is the general consensus (for fridge) and a year in the freezer (for this sort of cake, with no alcohol.
DECORATING Traditional white Christmas Cake (also see VIDEO):
- Best to use a cake turntable or similar (I used a small lazy susan!)
- Marzipan layer mainly for creating perfect smooth surface for fondant layer.
- Dust work surface with icing sugar. Shape marzipan into a disc then roll out so its large enough to cover cake and sides (250g/8oz marzipan covers this cake perfectly with some excess).
- Roll marzipan onto rolling pin, then unroll it over the cake.
- Drape over cake, stretching and pressing to cover sides with as few pleats as possible. Use wet table eating knife to smooth pleats, doesnt need to look perfect this is Layer 1 to smooth cake, plus also for the subtle almond flavour.
Fondant:Dust work surface with more icing sugar, shape into disc, roll out and cover cake as you did with the marzipan.
Quilting decorative side (pictured in post and in video):
- Use something with a clean edge but not as sharp as a knife (I used a cake server).
- Press on a 45 degree angle on side of cake about 2.5 cm / 1 apart all around the cake, then 45 degrees in the opposite direction to create diamond.
- Dip the blunt end of a wooden skewer into water, then press a light indent into fondant on intersection of diamond.
- Then press in a silver ball (water makes it stick). Repeat all around.
- Top with cherries, dusting with icing sugar, give it a grand spin to admire your work and serve!
General note: Marzipan is prone to cracking and tearing but it doesnt matter because marzipan layer is to create a smooth finish for the fondant layer. Fondant is easier to work with, but you need to be more careful because its the pretty layer. BUT any tears or rough patches can be smoothed out using the side of a wet table knife and / or patching up with excess bits of fondant. The wet knife softens the fondant so you can spread it to seal cracks.
How to ice Christmas Cake with fondant
The pictured cake in this post is decorated with a layer of marzipan (almond flavoured frosting) then topped with white fondant. This combination of marzipan + fondant is a traditional way to decorate Christmas Cake.Marzipan is for flavour and also to create a smooth surface for the fondant.
A visual of the steps is included in the recipe video above the recipe card, and below in photos.
Use a cake turn table, if you have one. I used a lazy susan!
- Dust work surface with icing sugar (powdered sugar) and shape marzipan into a disc;
- Roll marzipan out so its large enough to cover the sides of the cake;
- Roll the marzipan lightly around the rolling pin (best way to handle because marzipan is prone to tearing, cant pick it up);
- Then unroll it over the cake;
- Gently press down around the sides, making it as smooth as possible and stretching / adjusting as needed to avoid pleats. Dont get too hung up about perfection here this layer is to create a smooth surface for the fondant layer;
- Trim off excess using a knife;
- Roll out fondant the same way as the marzipan, including rolling it around the rolling pin to transfer to the cake;
- Unroll over the cake, then gently press down the side of the cake, stretching gently as needed to make it fit with no pleats.
TIP: If you have cracks / crevices / tears, just wet a table knife then use it to smear the fondant to seal the cracks. Use small pinches of surplus fondant if needed.
How todecorate side of cake
Heres how I decorated the side of the cake:
Use something with a clean edge but not as sharp as a knife (I used a cake server).
- Press on a 45 degree angle on side of cake about 2.5 cm / 1 apart all around the cake;
- Then 45 degrees in the opposite direction to create diamond;
- Dip the blunt end of a wooden skewer into water, then press a light indent into fondant on intersection of diamond.Then press in a silver ball (water makes it stick). Repeat all around; and
- Top with cherries, dusting with icing sugar, give it a grand spin to admire your work and serve!
Life of Dozer
Our beautiful country is suffering terrible bushfires of scales that are unimaginable and summer has only just started. Sydney has been blanketed in heavy bushfire smoke most days, with yesterday being a particularly bad day.
In fact, it was so bad I kept Dozer indoors all day. He wasnt happy but at least he wasnt inhaling bushfire smoke!!