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Because it works, and because it's always popular, we're going to use Delia Smith's Classic Christmas cake recipe.

It does involve some work before the making session – soaking the fruit and preparing the 20 cm round loose bottomed cake tin.

Ingredients - For the pre-soaking

  450g currants

  175g Sultanas

  175g raisins

  50g chopped glace cherries

  50g mixed chopped candied peel

  100ml brandy

For feeding and topping – more brandy.


Ingredients - For the cake

225g plain flour

½ tsp. salt

¼  tsp. nutmeg – freshly grated

½ tsp ground mixed spice

225g dark brown soft sugar

4 large eggs

1 dsp. Black treacle

225g spreadable or soft butter (not hard from the fridge)

50g chopped almonds, skins on

Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange


Preparation before the session


   Night before - Put all the fruits (listed in the column headed 'pre-soaking') in a bowl and mix them     with the brandy, cover with a cloth and leave them to soak for a minimum of 12 hours.


Before the session


  1. Weigh out all the ingredients and prepare as per the recipe (e.g. zest lemon and orange, chop nuts etc.)

  2. Have ready the equipment and materials for lining the cake tin

  3. Have the rest of the equipment ready


After the session


 Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4 hours at 120C fan oven, or 140C conventional oven,  or gas mark 1, until it feels springy in the centre when lightly touched. Sometimes it can take 30–45 minutes longer than this, but - don't look at it for 4 hours.

Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling.

When it's cold, 'feed' it by making small holes in the top and bottom with a cocktail stick and spooning in a couple of tablespoons of Armagnac or brandy, then wrap it in parchment-lined foil and store in an airtight tin. You can now 'feed' it at odd intervals until you need to ice or eat it.

Equipment list:

Lining the Tin, Preparation and Mixing


20cm round loose bottomed cake tin

Parchment or grease-proof paper

Pen or pencil

Brown paper

Non elastic string


Pastry brush with a little oil

Weighing scales


Fine grater

Sharp knife for chopping, with chopping board

Teaspoon and dessertspoon

Measuring jug

Large bowl for mixing fruit

Cloth/ clean tea towel

Wooden spoon

Large mixing bowl


Electric hand whisk

Large kitchen spoon or spatula

Parchment and foil for keeping the cake in.



Stuffing (x 2 if stuffing a chicken as well as making a stuffing roll)

50ml Olive oil

1 Large onion, diced

1 Lemon, zested

90gr Cooked chestnuts (Merchant Gourmet)

500gr Cumberland sausage meat

50gr Bread crumbs (fresh)

½ bunch fresh sage picked

½ tsp Ground black pepper

1 x Medium – large chicken



1 Large onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 Medium carrots, roughly chopped

2 Sticks of celery, roughly chopped

2 Rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into pieces

2 Bay leaves

2 Sprigs of fresh sage

2 Sprigs of fresh rosemary (or dried)

1kg Chicken wings

Olive oil (splash)

60 ml sherry or port, optional

4 Tablespoons plain flour

2 Tablespoons cranberry sauce

1 Chicken stock cube

2 Litres boiling water



Cranberry & apple sauce

450 gr Cranberries (fresh or frozen)

2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks

1 Large orange, zest and juice

1 Heaped teaspoon freshly grated root ginger or ½ level teaspoon ground ginger

120gr Caster sugar

1½ inch (4 cm) Piece cinnamon stick (or ½ teaspoon powder)

4 cloves

2-3 tablespoons port (optional)

Pinch of salt



1 Large bowl


1 Roasting tray

1 Frying pan

Saucepan for cranberry sauce

Medium – large saucepan for gravy


Tin foil

Baking parchment

Piping bag or zip lock bag (for stuffing the chicken)


Heat oven to 190 degrees


Celeriac puree/Parsnip & carrot mash/Broccoli with chili, garlic and almonds



Celeriac puree


1 x Large celeriac, peeled and diced (or 2 small)

150ml Double cream

10gr Butter

150ml Milk

1 x Veg stock


Nutmeg (optional)

Parsnip & carrot mash

400gr Carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3cm pieces

5 Medium parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 Head of garlic

45ml Olive oil

½ Tsp nutmeg



2 Medium size onions, peeled and sliced into ½ cm rings

80gr Butter

300ml Crème fraiche

15gr Chives, roughly chopped

Broccoli with chili, garlic and almonds

2 Heads broccoli (500gr)

100ml olive oil

3 Red chillies (large), thinly sliced

3 Garlic cloves (large), thinly sliced

1 Lemon, halved long ways, thinly sliced

20gr Flaked almonds, toasted




Large bowl


Saucepan for boiling broccoli

Small saucepan

Potato masher

Small roasting tray

Large roosting tray




Heat oven to 190 degrees


Chocolate brownies with pecan nuts, cinnamon and cranberries/Brown bread Ice cream


Chocolate brownies with pecan nuts, cinnamon and cranberries


250gr Butter

350gr Dark chocolate

4 Eggs

Vanilla Essence

100gr Palin flour

Pinch salt

9gr Baking powder

350gr Dark brown sugar

200gr chopped pecans,

100gr Dried cranberries

½ Tsp ground cinnamon,

½ Tsp nutmeg

½ Tsp Ginger

Brown bread Ice Cream

150gr wholemeal bread with crusts on, preferably stale

30g salted butter

40g caster sugar

40g light brown sugar

½ tsp Cinnamon

500ml Tub vanilla ice cream



30cm x 20cm baking tray

Electric beater

Baking parchment

Large Mixing Bowl


Roasting tray

Frying pan


Heat oven to 180 degrees

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