So if you have not made your traditional Christmas Cake yet, don't despair, you still have a little time.
Rich Christmas Cake Recipe
Ingredients:450g (1 lb) butter
450g (1 lb) brown sugar
450g (1 lb) plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
8 eggs, beaten
450g (1 lb) currants
450g (1 lb) sultanas
450g (1 lb) seedless raisins, chopped
225g (1/2 lb) mixed peel, chopped
225g (1/2 lb) glacé cherries
50g (2 oz) blanched almonds
finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp rose water
5 tbsp brandy or sherry
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift together the flour, spices and salt into a bowl. Beat together the eggs in another bowl.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the beaten eggs in another bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and beat until you have a smooth batter.
Line a 25cm (10 in) diameter springform cake tin with three thicknesses of greaseproof (waxed) paper. Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 150ºC (300ºF, Gas Mark 5) and bake for 5 hours.
After 3 1/2 hours check the cake. If the top is colouring too quickly cover with a sheet of baking parchment.
When done (a skewer inserted into the centre will emerge cleanly), remove from the oven and allow to cool almost completely in the tin. Carefully turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Cover with parchment paper and then foil and store in an air-tight tin to mature for between 2 and 3 weeks before decorating.
This is a classic rich Christmas cake that is best covered with marmalade or apricot jam, marzipan (almond paste) and white icing (frosting).
Cheat's Method:If you have not made your Christmas cake yet, but still want a traditional Christmas cake don't despair. Simply replace 500g (1 lb) of the fruit mixture in the recipe above with 500g (1 lb) of shop-bought mincemeat (any mincemeat with suet). This will make the cake slightly richer, but it will also mean that the cake will mature in a few days rather than a few weeks.
With this simple change you can make your cake just 3 days before Christmas day and it will still be ready to be iced.
For hundreds more Christmas recipes, and a look at the foods of Christmas past, why not visit the Celtnet Christmas Recipes home page.