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Christmas Cakes

Asked by Leszlito. Answered on 18th December 2012

Full question

Hello, I'm planning to make the Traditional Christmas Cake from Nigella Christmas this weekend but needed to clarify the quantity of bourbon/brandy required for the medium sized cake (20cm square). I am more than happy to put in 400ml of bourbon but as it is a drastically different amount to other Christmas cake recipes I've looked at I did wonder if it was a typo? I do hope it's not! Thanks.

I have a recipe for a Christmas cake to be cooked in an 8" tin but I would like to make a couple of smaller cakes instead. How do I go about adjusting the ingredients for a 4 3/4 x 1 3/4 deep tin? Chris Luckings.

I would like to make Nigella's Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake (Christmas, p180) for Christmas. Can you please tell me if the 350g of prunes are dried or tinned? Its my first Christmas cake and I don't want to start off with the wrong ingredients. Hope you can help me.

Our answer

We can confirm that the amount of bourbon in Nigella's Traditional Christmas Cake in Christmas is correct at 400ml/1 2/3 cups. As the fruit is heated with the alcohol the day before it tends to absorb a fair amout of the liquid overnight, leaving the fruit deliciously plump. Any bourbon not absorbed by the fruit should be added into the cake batter when you add the fruit.

Unfortunately we are unable to provide scaled recipes for most cakes, though in her book Christmas Nigella does give a Christmas cake recipe for 3 different tin sizes. There good news is that fruit cakes are realtively easy to scale down and there are several cake scaling charts available on-line. Some cake decorating books also have fruit cake recipes which cover many different sized tins which you could also use as a guideline. If you need to use half an egg for your chosen recipe then we suggest that you use just the egg yolk, and save the white for another use.

For Nigella's Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake the prunes are dried and not tinned/canned. They are also bought already pitted. For preference we would use the softer, ready-to-eat type

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