Christmas cake with brandy butter icing and pecan marzipan
Are you making and decorating a Christmas cake for the first
time? Wanting a new twist on the classic mix of spices, dried
fruits, nuts and booze? Look no further. Recipes from expert bakers
Delia Smith, Mary Berry, Sue Lawrence and Silvana Franco give you
step-by-step instructions on how to make – and ice – the perfect
Ingredients for Christmas Cake
- For the fruit cake
- 80g/2¾oz golden syrup
- 80g/2¾oz black treacle
- 50g/1¾oz honey
- 250g/9oz dark brown sugar
- 200ml/7fl oz double cream
- 15g/½oz (about 2 tbsp) mixed
- 250g/9oz unsalted butter
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 6 medium free-range eggs
- 350g/12oz currants
- 350g/12oz raisins
- 350g/12oz chopped pitted prunes
- 350g/12oz glacé cherries or more
- 500g/1lb 2oz strong white
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- brandy, whisky or orange
juice, for feeding the cake
- 2 tbsp apricot jam, boiled and
- For the pecan marzipan
- 200g/7oz finely ground pecans, or
half walnuts and half pecans
- 100g/3½oz icing sugar
- 125g4½oz soft brown sugar
- 3 free-range egg yolks
- 2 tsp liquid glucose
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp glycerine
- 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g/7oz finely ground pecans, or
- For the brandy butter frosting
- 300g/10½oz icing sugar
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- 25ml/1fl oz double cream
- 25ml/1fl oz brandy
- Preheat the oven to 170C/335F/Gas 3 and line a 25cm/10in round,
deep cake tin with non-stick paper.
- Place the syrup, treacle, honey, sugar, cream and spices in a
saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the mixture into a large
mixing bowl, add the butter in pieces and stir until melted, then
add the orange and lemon extracts.
- Beat in the eggs until smooth, then stir in the fruit. Mix the
flour and soda together, then stir this through evenly.
- Spoon into the tin and bake for about 2-2½ hours, or until a
skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then
carefully remove from the tin.
- When cold, spoon the top liberally with brandy, whisky or boiled
orange juice, wrap well and leave in a cool, dark place for 3-4
days before icing.The cake will keep for up to 3 months and should
be ‘fed’ (covered with brandy, whisky or boiled orange juice every
- For the pecan marzipan, combine the ground pecans and icing
sugar in a bowl and mix together.
- In a saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, egg yolks,
glucose, honey, glycerine, cinnamon and vanilla, then cook over a
low heat whisking constantly until pale, light and piping hot.
- Pour this over the pecan mixture and stir well to make a smooth
paste. Leave to cool, then wrap in cling film.
- To cover the cake in marzipan, first lightly knead the marzipan
so it’s smooth then roll it out on a worktop dusted with icing
sugar. Roll the marzipan into a disc about 1cm/½in thick and
1-2cm/½-1in wider than the diameter of your cake (check the
marzipan isn’t sticking to the worktop by dusting underneath it
again with icing sugar).
- Brush the top of the cake with the sieved jam then leave a few
minutes for it to set. Turn the cake upside down onto the marzipan
and wiggle it gently so the top is stuck firmly.
- Trim any excess marzipan leaving a 2cm/1in border. Using a
knife, gently press up into the gap caused by the curve of the
cake, then scrape it up smoothly so it is level with the side of
- Carefully turn the cake the right way up and you should be left
with a perfectly flat top surface and straight sides.
- Wrap the cake in cling film and leave to dry in a cool, dark
place for 4-5 days.
- For the brandy butter icing, measure the icing sugar into a
bowl, then melt the butter for a few seconds in the microwave or in
a small pan over a low heat, taking care not to burn it.
- Pour the melted butter with the cream and brandy into the sugar
and mix until smooth.
- Spread the icing onto the top of the cake and make small peaks
using a knife. Set aside for a few hours, or until the icing has
- Dust with icing sugar before serving.