Apricot and brandy Christmas cake recipe
Written by William HansonThe English Manner, The UK’s Leading Etiquette and Protocol Training Institute 310 310
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William joined The English Manner in 2008 before taking ownership in 2019. He is widely regarded as the freshest and most trusted authority on etiquette and civility, with his relative youth and old-fashioned values making him an arbiter of modern manners.Connect with William Hanson on LinkedIn Follow William Hanson on Instagram
12 November 2023
Each winter, a Christmas cake is a staple in many houses, including mine. Some are very strict and insist it cannot be eaten before Christmas Day itself, others are more relaxed. Yet there are some poor souls who blanch at the very prospect of a dried fruit cake and can’t stomach it. I pity them. Maybe they have had too many dry cakes in their time.
This cake, which Alexandra Messervy, my friend and colleague, copied down from a magazine many years ago, is the best Christmas cake I have ever tasted and I am yet to find a more moist one.
Having posted about my cake-making on my Instagram recently, I was inundated with people asking for the recipe. So, in the spirit of Christmas, here it is!
225g dried apricots, chopped
225g butter, at room temperature
225g light muscavado sugar
225g plain flour
5 large eggs
350g glacé cherries, rinsed, dried & quartered
Wrap in baking paper and foil and store for up to three months. If freezing, wrap in clingfilm/saran wrap, place inside a large freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost for 8 hours at room temperature after removing the wrapping.
Feed the cake with brandy several times before Christmas (every 10 days or so, depending on how moist you like it). Turn upside down, pour a tablespoon or two over the base, and let seep in before returning to wrappings.
Almond paste and royal icing are a must for a Christmas cake – put almond paste on a few weeks before Christmas (at end of November is good; at this point stop feeding the cake) and ice a few days before needed. You need to let the almond paste dry out before adding the icing, or else the icing will turn yellow.
Ideally, this cake is made at least two weeks before eating so it is not crumbly.
It makes a delicious fruit cake on its own, without the paste and icing, for the rest of the year.