Left making your Christmas cake to the last minute? Suddenly and unexpectedly need a Christmas cake? Or perhaps you just want a really quick and easy Christmas cake recipe? Either way, this Last Minute Emergency Christmas Cake is your answer… ready in just 1 hour 30 minutes, it requires just a handful of classic ingredients and it can be decorated and served on the same day you make it!
Place the dried fruit in a large saucepan. Squeeze over the juice of the orange and pour over the sherry and boiling water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Leave to stand until needed.
Preheat your oven to 160C / 140C fan / gas mark 3 / 325F. Grease and line your cake pan with baking paper (see above).
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar thoroughly.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture until smooth after each one.
Gently fold in the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon until fully incorporated.
Add the glacé cherries and the dried fruit, plus any remaining liquid from the saucepan. (There should be very little liquid left, as most of it will have soaked into the fruit or evaporated.) Stir gently until the fruit is evenly distributed.
Tip the cake mixture into your prepared cake tin and get it straight into the oven. Bake for 50 minutes to 1hour or until a skewer, inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean. (I check every 5 minutes from 50 minutes. It usually takes 55 minutes in my oven.)
Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin (or until cool enough to handle without burning your hands!), then remove the cake from the tin and allow to fully cool on a wire cooling rack… The cake should take approximately 2 hours from the time it comes out of the oven to cool fully. Do not decorate until completely cool!
Dust your worksurface with icing sugar. Take half the marzipan and roll it out to just a fraction larger than the cake. Cut out a circle the same size as the top of the cake, using a knife – use the cake tin as a guide to help you get the circle just the right size!
Brush the cake with a very small amount of cold water. (This is to help the marzipan stick to the cake – be very sparing, you don’t want to make the cake wet!)
Place the marzipan circle on top of the cake and trim any overhanging edges with a sharp knife.
Roll out the white fondant icing to just a fraction larger than the cake. Cut a circle the same size as the top of the cake, using a knife – again, use the cake tin to help you get the circle just the right size!
Brush the marzipan layer with a very small amount of cold water.
Place the fondant on top of the cake and trim any overhanging edges with a sharp knife.
Roll out the remaining marzipan and cut out a variety of different sized stars. (Or whatever Christmas shapes you like!)
Place these stars at random on top of the cake, using a little cold water on the back of each star to stick them down.
Your cake is now ready to eat!
Ideally you want the dried mixed fruit to be a mix of sultanas, raisins, currants and candied mixed peel. You can usually find this ready mixed in supermarkets. I have used both this one and this one in the past. If you can't find it ready mixed, buy the ingredients individually and go for these proportions: 40% sultanas / 30% raisins / 20% currants / 10% candied mixed peel.
Suitable for freezing.
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
The un-decorated cake is approximately 360 kcal per slice.