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Matha Collison's golden Christmas cake
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For the cake
200g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
250g dried apricots, roughly chopped
200g mixed peel
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 balls stem ginger in syrup, roughly chopped
100ml golden rum, plus extra for feeding
Juice and finely grated zest 1 large orange
2 tbsp golden syrup
300g butter, at room temperature
300g light brown soft sugar
4 British Blacktail Large Free Range Eggs
300g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
500g golden marzipan
1 tbsp smooth apricot jam
400g tub Cooks’ Ingredients Royal Icing
1 pack Cooks’ Homebaking Stardust
1. The day before baking your cake, mix all the dried fruits, mixed peel, spices and chopped ginger together in a large bowl and pour over the rum, orange zest and juice and golden syrup. Cover and allow to soak overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2 and line a round 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, allowing a few centimetres to stick out at the top.
3. Beat together the butter and sugar by hand or in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once combined, add the flour, and ground almonds then mix until just combined. Stir in the soaked fruit and any soaking liquid and mix until it is incorporated.
4. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 2 hours 45 minutes to 3 hours, rotating the tin halfway through cooking to ensure an even bake and covering it with foil if it looks too dark. Test to see if the cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre. A few crumbs should stick to it, but no raw mixture should be visible if it is cooked.
5. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin, before turning out, piercing it all over with a skewer and feeding with a drizzle of rum. Wrap tightly in parchment and foil and leave in a cool dark place, feeding every few weeks with rum, until ready to decorate.
6. When you are ready to serve the cake, roll the marzipan out into a disc roughly the same size as the top of the cake. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam, then apply the marzipan disc and trim the edges. Pipe the royal icing over the top, then dust with gold stardust and allow to harden before serving.
It can be difficult to get the consistency right with royal icing, so buying it ready-made helps save time and eliminates the risk of it being too runny! It is also a great option if you are cautious about using raw egg in the icing.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in November 2018.