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    Last Minute Christmas Cake

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    Last Minute Christmas Cake

    Don't worry if you didn't get round to making your cake weeks ago - this non-maturing version, by cookery writer and cake specialist Joanna Farrow, is ready to eat in days. It's packed with spiced dried fruits soaked in warmed brandy to make them juicy and allow the flavours to mingle quickly. Lemon juice and grated ginger give a vibrant tang.

    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus 15 minutes soaking time
    • Cooking time: 120 minutes to 150 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes to 3 hours 10 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 10 minutes

    Serves: 24 - 30


    • 200g Waitrose Dried Apricots, roughly chopped
    • 200g Waitrose French Prunes or dried figs, roughly chopped
    • 1kg Waitrose Luxury Mixed Dried Fruit
    • 125ml brandy, warmed
    • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 100g fresh root ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
    • 250g unsalted butter, softened
    • 250g Waitrose Dark Muscovado Sugar
    • 6 medium eggs, lightly beated
    • 300g plain flour
    • 100g Waitrose Whole Almonds, roughly chopped
    • 200g Waitrose Walnut Pieces


    1. Grease a 20cm square cake tin and line with greaseproof paper. Wrap several layers of brown paper or newspaper around the tin, securing with string. This helps the cake bake evenly and prevents the outside over-cooking before the centre is ready. Place the dried fruits, brandy, lemon zest, juice, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl. Mix well. Leave for 15 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 160°C, gas mark 3. Using an electric whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until smooth, adding a little flour to prevent the mixture curdling.
    3. Using a metal spoon, fold in the nuts and the fruit mixture, plus any juices left in the bowl, and the rest of the flour. Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.
    4. Bake for about 2 ½ hours or until the surface is firm and a skewer, inserted into the centre, comes out clean. Remove the outer paper. Turn out of the tin but keep the greaseproof paper on the cake. Leave to cool. Wrap in foil and store in a cool place.

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    Serving tips

    Try these other great Waitrose recipes for some decorating ideas:
    Amarettini, Crushed Sugar and Cape Gooseberries
    Clementine with Sugared Bay and Rosemary Leaves
    Tropical Fruits and Nuts
    Luxury Mixed Nuts and Ginger


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