Women’s Weekly Three-in-One Christmas Cake Mix
This is my favourite cake and pudding recipe, I’ve been making it for years. It’s such a versatile mix. The basic fruit mixture will make one very moist cake (22cm round), one steamed pudding, and about 20 fruit mince tarts. Prepare this basic fruit mixture up to a month ahead, the longer the fruit soaks, the better.
This year I have made 1 quantity of this Basic Fruit Mix and am using the entire mix to make Christmas Cakes. The mix has made 5 cakes, two larger ones ( 20-22cm) for home, and three small cakes for gifts. The three small 12cm cakes are cooked for about 2 hours 20 mins, and the two large cakes cook for about 3 hours, all at 150C.
Mini cakes can also be cut from a larger one, or use 400g tuna tins for baking, they are the perfect size, just make sure to run them through a dishwasher cycle before using, and cook for about 1.5 hours.
For the Christmas Pudding ‘how to’ click here
Ingredients for Basic Fruit Mix
- 6 cups (1kg) sultanas
- 2½ cups (375g) dried currants
- 2¼ cups (425g) raisins, chopped
- 1½ cups (250g) seeded, dried dates, chopped finely
- 1½ cups (250g) seeded prunes, chopped finely
- 1¼ cups (250g) glacé cherries
- ½ cup (125g) finely chopped glacé apricots
- ½ cup (115g) finely chopped glacé pineapple
- ½ cup (115g) finely chopped glacé ginger
- ¾ cup (120g) mixed peel
- 3 medium apples (450g) peeled, grated coarsely
- 2/3 cup (220g) marmalade or fig jam
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange rind
- ¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
- 2 cups (440g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mixed spice
- 1 1/3 cups (330ml) orange liqueur, rum, brandy, whisky or sherry
Method – for the Basic Fruit Mix
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well by hand. Cover tightly or place in an airtight container. Store the mixture in a cool, dark cupboard for up to a month (or longer) Stir the mixture every few days.
This cake recipe uses half the basic fruit mixture; the remaining mix is used for the pudding and fruit mince tarts. Makes one deep 20cm square, or one deep 23cm round cake. Remember, I have used the entire quantity of the basic fruit mix to make my 5 cakes.
- 1/2 basic fruit mixture
- 250g butter, melted, cooled
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 ½ cups plain flour, sifted
- 2-3 tbs Parisian Essence ( optional) if you like a darker cake
Method – to make the cake
1. Pre heat oven 150C. Turn off fan-forced option if possible. Otherwise turn oven down to 140C.
2. Grease and line the tin with 2 layers of heavy duty brown paper and 1 layer of baking paper, grease the paper.
3. Place the fruit mixture into a large bowl (or a clean kitchen sink, plug in). Use your hands to mix in the flour, eggs and butter (add essence to butter, if using). Mix well to combine.
4. Push handfuls of cake mixture firmly into the corners of the tin, press remaining mixture evenly into tin; level the top of the cake. Decorate the top of the cake with blanched almonds, if desired.
5. Bake for 2 ½ – 3 hours on the bottom shelf of the oven, for a 22cm cake, and 2 hours 20 minutes for a 12 cm cake.
To test if cake is cooked: feel the top of cake with your finger after the minimum time. If it feels firm, remove from oven, test by pushing a fine knife blade right down to the base of the tin, gently withdraw the knife. The cake is cooked if the knife blade is free from uncooked cake mixture. Do not confuse moistness from fruit with sticky, uncooked cake mixture.
Mini Cakes can be made in Baked Bean or 400g Tuna tins – perfect for gifts
6. Using a fine skewer, prick a few holes in the top of the cake, and spoon on another tablespoon of your chosen alcohol. Wrap the warm cakes in a bath towel and let them cool slowly for 12 hours. Remove from the tin, cover with foil and clingwrap and store in a cool dark place, giving them a ‘little drink’ every week or so. Enjoy !