I’m back! Sorry for the extreme lack of posts this month. I had family visiting at the beginning of the month, then I managed to catch a cold which lasted for two weeks and meant I had absolutely no motivation to cook. Anyway, normal service is resumed hopefully 🙂
I thought I would start with a recipe that first appeared on my blog five years ago. I’ve been making this recipe for years and it always turns out well. Now is the ideal time to bake the cake because it tastes better if it has a few weeks to ‘mature’ before the holiday season.
The photo above is of the freshly baked cake – of course you can decorate it however you want before serving. Marzipan and Royal Icing are the traditional favourites, but buttercream or fondant will also work equally as well.
The ingredients listed below are for a 20cm/8 inch square or 23cm/9 inch round pan – note that the pan needs to be deep because of the large quantity of fruit.
- 1kg/2lbs mixed dried fruit (the mix I use includes sultanas, raisins, currants and mixed citrus peel)
- 115g/4oz glace cherries, roughly chopped
- 75g/3oz flaked almonds
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 tbsp dark spirits of your choice, such as dark rum or brandy (I use rum)
- 325g/11oz plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 115g/4oz almond meal (ground almonds)
- 250g/9oz brown sugar
- 250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp treacle (or molasses if you can’t get treacle)
- 5 eggs
- extra spirits for pouring over the cake periodically during storage
- Put the fruit, cherries, flaked almonds, lemon juice and spirits into a large non-metallic mixing bowl and stir together. Cover with cling wrap and leave overnight or for a couple of days.
- Heat your oven to 140C/120C fan forced/275F.
- Grease your spring-form or loose-bottomed pan (see above for sizes) and double line with baking paper.
- Put the flour, mixed spice, almond meal, sugar, butter, treacle and eggs into a large mixing bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon, or your electric mixer, until smooth and glossy.
- Gradually add in the fruit mixture, folding to combine with the batter.
- When the fruit is evenly blended into the cake batter, spoon into your prepared pan and smooth the surface.
- Bake for about 3 hours, testing the cake with a skewer in the last 30 minutes. The cake is cooked when it feels quite firm to the touch and the skewer comes out clean. Tip: if you notice the cake starting to brown too much during the cooking time, cover the top loosely with a piece of aluminium foil.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan.
- Take the cake out of the pan but do not remove the baking paper. Wrap in two layers of foil and store in a cool, dark place (a cupboard is fine).
- Every week between now and Christmas, drizzle an extra 1/2 tbsp of your chosen spirit over the top of the cake. Wait for the spirit to sink into the cake and then re-wrap.
- A couple of days before Christmas you can ice and decorate your cake.