Makes: 6 servings
Time: 4 Hours
Bursting with festive flavours of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, this rich and fruity Christmas Cake is one of the most luxurious bakes of the year.
450 gram (1 pounds) fondant icing
275 gram (10 ounce) butter, softened
225 gram (8 ounce) soft brown sugar
6 medium eggs, beaten
275 gram (10 ounce) plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
100 gram (4 ounce) ground almonds
350 gram (12 ounce) currants
350 gram (12 ounce) raisins
350 gram (12 ounce) sultanas
175 gram (6 ounce) cherries, chopped
175 gram (6 ounce) mixed peel, chopped
50 gram (2 ounce) almonds, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons apricot jam
450 gram (1 pounds) marzipan
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3. Grease and double line the base and sides of a 20.5cm (8″) loose bottomed round cake tin.
Makes one 20.5cm (8″) round cake.
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour if necessary. Sift the remaining flour and spices together and fold into the mixture. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients and lemon and spoon into the prepared tin.
Smooth the surface of the cake and then make a dip in the centre. Take a strip of brown wrapping paper and wrap around the cake to form a collar. Secure with string and bake the cake in the oven for 1 hour.
Reduce the temperature to 140°C, 275°F, Gas Mark 1. Bake for a further 2½-3 hours. Cover the cake with greaseproof paper to prevent the top from over browning, if necessary.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before turning out of the tin. Peel away the lining paper and prick the base with a skewer. Pour the brandy over and then wrap in greaseproof paper and foil and store in an airtight container until ready to decorate.
When ready to decorate, turn the cake upside down and place on a cake board. Knead the marzipan and break off some small pieces. Roll them into sausage shapes and use to fill any gaps at the base of the upturned cake.
Warm through the jam and brandy in a saucepan and brush over the surface of the cake. Roll out the marzipan and cut into a round, the same size as the circumference of the cake, then carefully lift on top. Knead the fondant icing and roll out on a lightly icing sugar covered surface. Again, cut to the same size as the circumference of the cake, brush the marzipan with a little brandy and lift the icing over. Smooth well.
Remember that after you have decorated your cake you should store it in a non-airtight container to prevent the icing from going soggy.
Decorate your cake with star and snowflake shapes cut out of fondant icing, finishing some of these with edible gold sparkle lustre. Finish off the cake with a gold ribbon around the edge.
MR. PORTER AND MS. CHARLES CULINARY CRAVINGS
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. But, it takes two to tango so stay tuned to see who will master the steam oven first, or whether Mr. Porter or Ms. Charles comes up with the best new recipes.
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