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Christmas is coming and Tally is getting fat . . . . .

Christmas cakeI am sat here with workmen in my kitchen and Christmas cakes in the oven. Thankfully I got them in just before they arrived to do some remodelling on my kitchen: tiling my work tops, insetting a marble slab for pastry work and putting a wonderful New Zealand wood (Rimu) surround on my breakfast buffet . . . my Christmas present to myself!

All being finished off before the end of the weekend; because I then take off to pick my mother up from the airport. She is flying out from the UK for two months holiday in the sun with her son. My Christmas present to her.

My Christmas present to you? Well last year I gave you, my tried and tested, old faithful recipe for a traditional, rich Christmas fruit cake <click here> This year I thought I would take a break from this and have a tutu with a quick and easy variation and after a few attempts, making an adjustment here, an adjustment there…I now have a recipe that is, quick and easy to make….in fact its that easy you could get your children to do it if you like! It’s a lot lighter in texture and flavour than the usual cake.

Of course with all this testing, it means I now have cakes coming out of my ears. But nothing goes to waste from my kitchen though . . . I will be taking them down to the Salvation Army, I am sure they will be able to put them to very good use. Now there’s a thought . . . how about your present to me? Why not bake a spare one and pop it along to the Salvation Army also? . . . tell 'em ‘Tally Claus’ sent you!

Boy, does my house smell wonderful as I sit typing this, very noisy with grinders and buzz saws going, but smelling absolutely gorgeous . . . aromas of the cakes baking, the perfume of the brandy, sherry and Grand Marnier and that unmistakable waft of fruit mingling in the air.

I have given some options for the cake as we all like it slightly different and you may not want the amount of alcohol I like in a cake! Normally for cake recipes I like to give exact amounts, but for this one I have made it child’s play by doing it all in cups.

I tripled this recipe and have two 20cm round 8cm thick cakes baking and then I have put the rest of the mixture into deep muffin trays, to make some smaller versions, which I think would make wonderful little gifts, all wrapped in cellophane with a bow. Make it/them now, place in an airtight container and allow the flavours to fully mature for Christmas Day.


Ingredients for Christmas Cake

dried fruits of choice (currants, sultanas etc)



rum, sherry, port, brandy or orange juice



castor sugar



treacle or golden syrup



melted butter









flour - all purpose



baking soda



mixed spice (optional)



How to make Christmas Cake

  • Place the dried fruits in a bowl and pour over boiling water, allow to stand for 5 minutes, drain and place back into the mixing bowl
  • Pour over the alcohol of choice (or the orange juice), sprinkle in the sugar, thoroughly mix and allow to stand for as long as possible - preferably overnight (covered)
  • Place the butter and milk into a saucepan and warm through, spoon the treacle directly from the jar into the saucepan, warm and stir to combine, allow to cool slightly and add to the fruit
  • Add the beaten eggs and stir well
  • Add the flour and baking soda (and spices if using) and beat together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined
  • Pour into your prepared cake tin, place on the middle shelf in a pre-heated oven (150ºC) and bake for approx. 2 1/2 hours. <click here for baking tips>. Test with a knife: place a clean knife in the centre, when it comes out clean the cake is cooked
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and remove to a cooling rack. Carefully and slowly remove the greaseproof paper

Chef's Tip on Christmas Cake

When spooning out the treacle, place the spoon under hot running water and the treacle will just slip right off the spoon

Once I have removed the greaseproof collar and base, I always prefer to wrap the cake immediately in a clean tea towel, this traps the heat in and keeps the cake moist, by inverting the steam back into the cake.

Enjoy your Christmas Cake and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com