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Martha Collison Christmas fruit cake
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Makes: 20cm cake (20 slices)
FOR THE CAKE
100g soft prunes, chopped
100g pitted dates, chopped
50g glacé cherries
50g mixed peel
100g black treacle
100ml brandy, plus extra to feed
3 tsp mixed spice
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
200g butter, at room temperature
200g dark brown soft sugar
3 Waitrose British Blacktail Large Free Range Eggs
75g ground almonds
75g blanched whole almonds, chopped
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
To decorate your cake, see my recipe here
1. The night before, place the dried fruits into a large pan with the treacle, brandy, mixed spice, orange juice and zest. Stir, then gently cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring all the time until the fruit has plumped and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to soak overnight.
2. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Grease and line a 20cm deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the tin in aluminium foil with the shiny side facing out (this will reflect heat away from the outside of the cake making sure the sides don’t burn) and secure with string.
3. Beat together the butter and sugar in your biggest mixing bowl until smooth, then stir in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the ground and chopped almonds, plain flour and baking powder. Pour in the soaked dried fruits, using a spatula to make sure any sticky juices don’t get left in the pan, then stir together until well mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 2¼-2½ hours. When the cake is ready, it will be risen and firm but still slightly damp in the centre.
5. Cool completely in the tin, then use a skewer to pierce small holes across the top. Feed with 1-2 tbsp of brandy, then remove from the tin and wrap in fresh baking parchment, then foil. The cake will now keep for 2-3 months in a cool dark place. Feed with brandy about once every fortnight.
To decorate the cake, click here.
Typical values per serving:
For 20 slices including decorating
This recipe was first published in November 2017.