Honey saffron Christmas cake


Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs and 30 mins
Cuts into 12 slices


For the cake

225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp brandy
pinch saffron (about 1⁄4tsp strands)
225g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
225g plain flour
50g ground almond
1 tsp baking powder
300g raisin
300g sultana
100g natural-coloured glacé cherry, halved
85g mixed peel
50g whole blanched almond, roughly chopped
50g whole blanched hazelnut, roughly chopped
50g walnut pieces

To soak

3 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp honey


Step 1

Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line a round,
deep 20cm cake tin with two layers of baking parchment (see
Knowhow, below). Tie a few sheets of newspaper around the
outside of the tin, level with the top of the baking parchment.

Step 2

Heat the brandy in a small pan, then add the saffron and leave to
infuse off the heat for a few mins. Put the butter, sugar, eggs,
flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a
bowl, then beat together until creamy and smooth. Mix the fruit,
nuts and brandy saffron mix into the batter and stir well.

Step 3

Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top and make a slight dip
in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs, then cover loosely with foil to stop
the top over-browning. Turn oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1
and cook for 1 hr more until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to
cool in the tin then, while it’s still warm, prod the cake all over
with a skewer.

Step 4

Mix the brandy and honey together and spoon over the cake.
Wrap up well in foil and keep in an airtight container until
Christmas, feeding with more honeyed brandy every so often.

Cranberry & white chocolate panettone

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