The Canny Cook: Easy Christmas cake

The Canny Cook: Easy Christmas cake

A quick and simple recipe sent in by reader Lyndie Leventon

I clear out my fridge-freezer twice a year. Right now, before the Christmas influx, and again in April when the whole kitchen gets a spring clean after months of winter cooking. I always feel a bit daunted by how much food will need to be stored over the next few weeks. A bursting-at-the-seams fridge and a freezer that requires constant rearranging is, from experience, no fun. I’m all for a bit of preparation – and space management to make life easier.

I always stick to standard fridge rules: fruit and veg in the crisper drawer, raw meat and fish on the lowest shelf (the coolest, most temperature-stable spot). Beyond that, things are usually a bit of a mess with scattered dips, spreads, condiments and sauces occupying the top half, so I’ve ditched anything past its best because a crowded fridge prevents good air flow. Root veg has also been moved to a cool, dark cupboard where it will sit happily and not take up precious fridge space.

Likewise, my freezer has been evacuated of anything that is over six months old, including the last of the summer ice creams. Now it has a clear dual purpose: to be a source of batch-cooked weeknight meals and also to store get-ahead festive food. My Christmas gravy and red cabbage are already in there (recipes to come next week), as is the Christmas cake, opposite. The recipe isn’t entirely traditional, but it’s incredibly easy to make and full of lovely festive flavours.

100g sultanas, 95p; 150g self-raising flour, 70p

150g unsalted butter, £1.89; 225g mincemeat, £1.50

Serves 8-10 

Price per slice 50p*


Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a 20cm loose-bottomed or springform cake tin and line with baking parchment.

Put the softened butter and 120g caster sugar in a mixing bowl and use electric beaters to cream until pale and fluffy, around 2-3 minutes. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time.

Next, beat in the mincemeat. Fold in the flour and ½ tsp salt until combined, then fold in the sultanas.

Transfer to the lined tin and bake for 55-60 minutes until golden, risen and a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Slice to serve.

Store in an airtight container for 72 hours or freeze for up to a month.


Do you have a great recipe for eating well and cutting food bills? Email [email protected]. If we print it here, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne

*This cost assumes you already have some basic store-cupboard ingredients. Prices taken from Asda and correct at time of going to press. 

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