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    Fig, sherry & almond Christmas cake

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    Fig, sherry & almond Christmas cake

    This cake is lighter in colour and density than you’d expect from a more traditional recipe, but it still delivers on that characteristic sticky fruitiness. The shimmery marzipan decoration is a revelation, too. You will need some kitchen string to wrap the cake up while baking

    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: 1 hour + soaking, cooling and feeding
    • Cooking time: 3 hours 20 minutes
    • Total time: 4 hours 20 minutes + soaking, cooling and feeding

    Serves: 16

    Ingredients

    500g Essential Mixed Fruit 
    270g soft dried figs, stems discarded, roughly chopped 
    200g glacé cherries, halved 
    1 large orange, scrubbed, zest and juice (about 75ml) 
    125ml rich sweet cream sherry 
    225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 
    225g light muscovado sugar 
    4 British Blacktail Free Range Medium Eggs, at room temperature 
    150g plain flour, sifted
    100g ground almonds 
    2 tsp ground mixed spice 
    100g toasted flaked almonds

    Method

    For feeding the cake
    (after baking, repeat weekly)
    1-5 tbsp rich sweet cream sherry 
    1-5 tbsp orange juice 


    For decorating 
    1 tbsp apricot jam or marmalade
    Icing sugar (preferably royal icing sugar), sifted, for dusting
    200g white marzipan 
    4g pack gold lustre spray

    Your recipe note

    Edit your recipe note

    1 At least 24 hours (and up to 3 days) before baking, put the dried fruit and cherries in a medium pan with the orange zest and juice, plus the sherry. Bring to a simmer, stir, then cover and set aside. Stir now and again over the 24 hours. 

    2 When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 160°C, gas mark 3. Grease a 20cm round, deep cake tin with butter, then double-line the base and sides with baking parchment. Fold 2 sheets of baking parchment lengthways, to about the same depth as the tin, then overlap them around the tin and secure with kitchen string (this stops the cake from cooking too fast). 

    3 Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and, using electric beaters, beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until completely incorporated before adding the next. Add 2 tbsp flour with the last egg. Tip in the remaining flour, ground almonds, spice and a pinch of salt, then fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon or spatula. Fold in the flaked almonds and soaked fruit. Spoon into the prepared tin and level the top. Make a saucer-sized dimple in the middle of the cake with the back of a spoon. 

    4 Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 140°C, gas mark 1 and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes-1 hour 45 minutes, until the cake is evenly risen, dark golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the tin on a cooling rack until just warm. Poke lots of holes in the top using a cocktail stick. Mix together the sherry and orange juice for feeding, then brush over the cake. Once cold, remove the cake from If you want fail-safe recipes, look no further. These are the Waitrose Christmas classics, tried and tested by us, made time and again by you This cake is lighter in colour and density than you’d expect from a more traditional recipe, but it still delivers on that characteristic sticky fruitiness. The shimmery marzipan decoration is a revelation, too. You will need some kitchen string to wrap the cake up while baking the tin. Wrap in clean baking parchment, then a layer of foil. Keep in a cool, dark place, until ready to decorate (for up to 4 weeks). Unwrap and brush with more sherry and juice weekly, until a few days before serving, or decorate immediately.

    5 To decorate, unwrap the cake and place it on a board or plate. In a small pan, warm the apricot jam or marmalade with 1 tsp water, then sieve out any lumps. Brush it across the top of the cake (it acts as a glue). Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar and knead the marzipan until soft. Shape into a round, then roll evenly to a 20cm circle using the cake tin base as a guide. Lift it carefully onto the cake and smooth out with your palms until it fits flush to the top. Use your forefinger to make a dimple pattern around the edge. Tap out about ½ tsp from the gold lustre spray tube and rub it into the marzipan with your fingers, until the surface is smooth and shimmery. Leave to set for a few hours, or ideally overnight, before cutting

     

    GET THE LOOK

    To decorate your cake like ours, dust the shimmery marzipan with Cook’s Ingredients Raspberry Powder. Thinly slice 1 orange and arrange on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake in a 120ºC, gas mark ½ oven for 2-3 hours, until dried, turning once or twice while cooking. Arrange on top of the cake with fresh bay leaves and physalis, then tie a few colourful ribbons around the cake to finish.

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