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    Quick Christmas Fruit Cake

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    Quick Christmas Fruit Cake

    Can be prepared in advance.

    • Vegetarian
    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes plus standing
    • Cooking time: 1½ hours

    Makes: Makes 20cm square cake

    Ingredients

    ½ x 1kg Waitrose Wholesome Vine Fruit Mix
    250 g pack Waitrose Plum Medley or Pluots, chopped
    100 g pack Waitrose Dried Cranberries
    175 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
    250 g dark muscovado sugar
    ½ x 435g tin Clement Faugier Chestnut Spread
    125ml Boudier French cherry brandy, reserving 1 tbsp for the top
    Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
    Juice and zest of 3 clementines
    3 large eggs, beaten
    250 g plain flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 tsp mixed spice

    For the icing:

    4 tbsp Waitrose Morello Cherry Conserve
    2 x 500g packs Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients Brandy Marzipan
    Icing sugar, for dusting
    1 kg White Ready-to-Roll Regalice Icing

    Method

    1. Place all the fruits, butter, sugar, chestnut purée, cherry brandy, lemon zest and clementine juice and zest into a large saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter melts. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for at least 35 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, grease the sides of a 20cm square, deep-sided cake tin and line with non-stick baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the tin in a triple layer of brown parcel paper and secure with string. (This will ensure the cake cooks slowly and evenly and stops the sides burning and colouring too quickly.)
    3. Preheat the oven 150°C, gas mark 2. Tip the cooled, soaked fruit mixture into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs, sieve in the flour, baking powder and spices and mix well, until thoroughly combined and smooth. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours, or until the top of the cake is a little cracked and dry to touch. A skewer inserted will still come out a little sticky, but the cake will be ready.
    4. Remove and discard the brown paper from around the tin, to allow the cake to cool more quickly. Spike the top with a cocktail stick and drizzle over the remaining cherry brandy.
    5. When the cake has cooled completely, remove it from the tin and place on a board, ready to ice.
    6. To ice the cake, gently warm the jam in a small pan with 1 tbsp of water until the jam melts. Sieve into a small bowl and, using a pastry brush, sweep the cake with the warm jam.
    7. Knead the marzipan until softened, then roll out thinly on an icing sugar-dusted work surface, to make a 40cm round. Drape the marzipan over the cake, pressing down to cover. Trim off any excess around the base, then repeat the technique to cover the cake with the Regalice (but don't use jam this time).

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