Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mary Berry's Victorian Christmas Cake

Did you know that there are only 46 days to Christmas?
Have you made your Christmas cake yet?
Now, I know that lots of people hate fruit cake but the Senior Partner and I cannot be counted amongst them.
We do both loathe, despise and abominate marzipane the traditional layer between the fruit cake and the Royal icing topping.
We're not mad about Royal icing and all the fiddly little Christmas decorations either.
I usually bake Delia's Christmas cake, a tried and tested recipe which never fails, however in the November issue of Good Food magazine I came across Mary Berry's Classic Victorian Christmas cake and decided to bake it this year instead.
Click here for the link to the recipe on the BBC Good Food website.
I tweaked the recipe only slightly by replacing sherry with whisky, and it's whisky I'll "feed" the cake with every two weeks until decorating the top with jeweled coloured glace fruits and seasonal nuts, and I might well decide to enhance it further with a beautiful shimmering ribbon.
I'll probably post a photo or two of the finished cake, all glossy and pouting in it's rich deliciousness, a little nearer Christmas, for now though all I can show you is the cake before it went into the oven and all the messy detritus left for me to clear away whilst it bakes for 5 hours and 10 minutes!

Sharing this post with Claudia @ Mocking Bird Hill Cottage
a fun gathering where we reveal how we really live
away from the bright lights and cameras!
I've had a request from Bunny Jean asking
 that I link this recipe to her Wednesday Bunny Hop.
No sooner said than done!


  1. Oh Wow, you bake your own Christmascake Maggie.Lots of work but oh so delicious. I remember when I worked in England more than 50 years ago we had that and I loved it. Here in Holland we don't have that cake and tradition. I know we all have a mess when we do our baking.
    Have a nice day and I bet your house will smell soooo good.

  2. That looks good to me!
    Thanks for the link!

  3. Maggie,
    I love Christmas cake too. I don't think I could make this recipe because of the metrics and some of the ingredients! I may have to hunt around for the one I used to make - you have got me thinking!

    Love the look of your blog!


  4. What an efficient lady you are. We are going to be away for Christmas, so need to do any baking here. By the way I have just been on Bookmooch, at last it is working again and noticed your blog link is incorrect?

  5. I remember having a fruit cake as a little girl...I have never made a Christmas Cake. I will have to give it a try. Thank you for the link.

  6. I have always followed the English tradition of making my Christmas Cake on what has always been called, "Stir up Sunday". (the last Sunday before Advent) The collect for the day reads:
    Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    I enjoy making the marzipan for the cake as well as soaking the fruit in brandy, for several weeks prior to that. I'm sure I'll be doing a post about it soon.
    As for the recipe I use, it's from a Sainsbury baking book I bought many years ago.

  7. Maggie, I'm still dragging my feet on the fall decor and here you are preparing something for Christmas. This looks like a delicious cake. Eat a slice for me! ;-)
    ~ Sarah

  8. I'm not a fan of Christmas Cake, but the man I live with is. It looks good before baking - I'll check the recipe link after commenting.

    You are well ahead of the game here!

  9. It's Delia's for us again, made last weekend (bought everything ready prepared in a box from Waitrose and just added the butter, eggs, lemon etc)
    This weekend, while I'm away the sous chefs (OH&DD) are making the Christmas pudding !!!

  10. Maggie, your kitchen looks like mine after I've been baking. This sounds like a LOT of work. i can't wait to see a picture close to Christmas. I know it will be beautiful. Sadly, if I bake, I want to be able to eat it as soon as it cools - sometimes before it cools. What patience this must take. By the way, I really didn't want to know how few days are left until Christmas! laurie

  11. The Mr. and I LOVE fruit cake!

    I have never made it my self... maybe this will be the year. Guess I better hurry!

    Thanks for the sweet comment on my cloches. I hope you share this recipe at my party this week :)

    xoxo Bunny Jean
    Wednesday's Bunny Hop Party!

  12. Maggie, I LOVE fruitcake! Wish I was there to sample yours. :-)

  13. My husband and I both love Christmas cake or fruit cake. This sounds like a great recipe for a change from what I make. Soaking the fruit for three days sounds like a good idea.

  14. Maggie... you are too SWEET!

    Thank's for coming to the party :)

    xoxo Bunny Jean
    Wednesday's Bunny Hop!

  15. You're very ambitious. I love fruit cake but haven't made any since my sister in law got married and before that for my own wedding cakes. Your cake will be delicious. I love your recipe rack - what a good idea!

  16. I love fruit cake too!
    Love the idea of making Christmas cake tho i've never done it (yet).
    this looks like a yummy one, may be this year is the year for me.

  17. I have read about the Christmas cake, but don't seem to have the time or patience to start one. It will be interested to see how yours develops.

  18. It seems there is something wonderful missing from the Christmas traditions on my side of the Atlantic -- Christmas cake! It sure sounds delicious to me...

  19. I've never even eaten a Christmas Cake like yours! And imagine: 5 hours of baking. Amazing.

    I will make Christmas cookies two weeks before Christmas. :-)

  20. We don't make Christmas Cake here. I'm fascinated by all the work that goes into making one - such a long cooking time!

    My Grandmother used to make these when I was young, along with mincemeat pies and all the other wonderful baked goods associated with Christmas. It brings back good memories.

    Thanks so much for joining in!


  21. Wow! 5 hours. You must really enjoy Christmas Cake.
    I've never had it. Maybe I'll check out the recipe.

  22. I'm one of the haters! Don't hate me. lol. But I'm fascinated by this process, I had no idea! Maybe a homemade one would be so much better. You've made me think! Ann

  23. What a dedicated baker you are -- it's obviously a labor of love.

  24. That is going to be one fine cake come Christmas Day.

  25. Christmas, haven't even thought about it yet, What a sport you are to be in the spirit so fast, but with that wonderful cake and all the prep one has to start the process. I would love to try some. Have never made a fruited cake before. My mother used it. Good luck andi

  26. just in the middle of christmas baking yours looks wonderful well done


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