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Golden Christmas fruit cake
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Serves: 24 (1 x 20cm cake)
250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g dark brown muscovado sugar
750g vine fruit mix
250g pack chopped, dried, pitted apricots
100g dates, chopped
200g tub Cooks’ Ingredients Provencal Glace Cherries, halved
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
100ml brandy, plus extra for feeding
200g tub Cooks’ Ingredients Italian Cut Mixed Peel
150g almonds, chopped
5 British Blacktail Large Free Range Eggs, beaten
300g plain flour, sieved
2 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp grated nutmeg
For the decoration
Icing sugar, for dusting
500g pack Cooks’ Ingredients Golden Marzipan
3 tbsp apricot jam, warmed and sieved
400g tub Cooks’ Ingredients Royal Icing
1. Grease a deep, 20cm, loose-bottomed cake tin. Cut 2 circles of baking parchment to fit the base. Cut a double strip of parchment to fit around the inside of the tin, making it 2.5cm taller than the height of the tin. Make a 2.5cm fold along the length of that strip, then cut from the edge to the fold at 2cm intervals. Put one circle of parchment in the tin, then press the strip around the inside. The snipped section will flatten on to the base of the tin. Place the second circle of parchment on top.
2. Put the butter, sugar, dried fruits, cherries, orange zest and juice and brandy into a large saucepan. Heat gently until the butter melts, then bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Mix the remaining ingredients with the fruit mixture until well combined. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for 2-2½ hours. If the top gets too brown, cover it with scrunched-up baking parchment. After 2 hours, test with a skewer inserted into the centre to see if it is done – it should come out clean. If not, cook for another 15 minutes and test again. Repeat if necessary.
4. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes. Remove from the tin, peel off the paper. Prick the top of the cake all over with a skewer. Drizzle over 2 tbsp brandy. Leave to cool completely.
5. Wrap in 2 layers of greaseproof paper and a layer of foil. Put in an airtight container. Feed with brandy every 2 weeks until Christmas. It will keep for 2-3 months.
1. When you are ready to ice the cake, dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a large enough circle to cover the top of the cake.
2. Heat the jam in a small saucepan until it is liquid, then use a pastry brush to cover the top of the cake with a thin layer of jam. Then place the disc of marzipan on top. Allow the marzipan to dry completely before icing, ideally overnight.
3. Take the tub of royal icing and spoon it over the marzipan. Finish with a swirl pattern. Using a blowtorch, lightly scorch the surface of the icing to give a golden finish and tie a wide gold ribbon around the edges. Alternatively, you could finish with a spritz of Cooks’ Ingredients Gold Lustre Spray, and a scattering of sparkly snowflakes if you wish.
Typical values per serving:
includes marzipan and royal icing
This recipe was first published in November 2019.
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