Wonderfully Festive Traditional Christmas Cake Recipe

The warm aromas of soaked berries and hearty spices, and the prospect of creating something marvellous to gift over the holiday season make the baking of a traditional Christmas cake therapeutic and wonderful.

I had never made one on my own until this Christmas, and thus thought to share the recipe and how-to, in order to inspire those who are tempted to give it a whirl to go for it, and to see just how easy it is.
For the fruits:
800g mixed dried berries (try 200g cranberries, 200g golden sultanas, 200g purple sultanas, 100g mixed peel, 100g chopped glacé cherries)
70ml fine cognac (to soak the fruit)
For the mixture:
200g butter
200g sugar
300g sr flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp mixed spice
4 eggs
70ml milk

1. Begin by soaking the fruit - you can soak them for a day (if you are using more alcohol than suggested, for an exceptionally boozy cake) or for an hour: it is entirely up to your personal preference. I simply soaked the fruits for an hour in fine cognac, and they were perfectly glazed in that time.
2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and the sugar.

3. Once the butter and sugar are thoroughly mixed, gradually add in the combined mix of flour, almonds and spice. After pouring and mixing a quarter of the flour mix, add and mix an egg. Repeat until all of the flour mix and all of the eggs are combined.
4. Add the milk and stir.
5. Combine the two mixtures (add the fruit into the flour mix).

6 Grease and line two baking tins and equally distribute the mix.
7 Place in an oven for about 4 hours at 150degrees, covering the tops with tin foil when they begin to brown.
8 Viola! You will have two perfectly crumbly, fruity and boozy Christmas cakes, ready to glaze with apricot jam and envelop with a marzipan blanket. Decorate to your taste!

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