Photo credit Alex J Harris
A lot of Christmas fruit cakes, including Traditional British Christmas Cake, take a long time to make, a long time to bake, and have lots of ingredients. This cake has most of the flavours you will find in a traditional Christmas cake, but without the hard work.
Mincemeat does not contain any meat, although it does contain a shredded solid form of fat called suet. While I can buy jars of mincemeat easily in any grocery store here in England, I know it can be harder to source if you live in North America. If you can’t find it, you can click here for a very straight-forward recipe. If you cannot get suet, I also found a sugar and suet free recipe hereon the wonderful Gluten Free SCD and Veggie Blog.
You can use a traditional dried fruit mixture that you buy in the supermarket, or mix your own with your favourite dried fruits. I like to use a combination of sultanas and chopped dried apricots. I have also used raisins or sultanas on their own very successfully. Dark rum or whiskey work well in place of brandy – just don’t forget to change the name of the cake!
This is not a beautiful cake, so I like to sprinkle it either with demerera sugar before baking or with sieved icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) after it has cooled. The cake tastes even better the day after it is made, and well wrapped it will keep for three to four days.
1 cup raisins or mixed dried fruit
¼ cup brandy
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup white sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1¾ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup mincemeat
3 to 4 generous tablespoons of Demerara sugar for the topping (optional)
Put whatever dried fruit you have chosen to use in a bowl. Pour the brandy over top and stir. Cover and let sit for at least a half hour or up to 12 hours. I often leave it to sit overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300℉ (150℃ ).
Grease and flour an eight inch square pan. I like to line the bottom of the pan with baking parchment instead of using flour and then I just need to grease the sides.
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat in. Gently blend in the flour.
Using a wooden spoon, fold in the mincemeat and soaked dried fruit (along with any liquor left in the bowl), stirring until well mixed.
Pour into the baking pan and sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the top (if using). Bake 35 to 45 minutes. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store tightly covered with foil or in a sealed tin. This cake is lovely served on its own with a cup of tea, or as a dessert with some good vanilla ice cream.