Luxury Christmas Cake
Ingredients: 225g plain flour, ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp mixed spice, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 200g butter, 200g dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp black treacle, 1 tbsp marmalade, ¼ tsp vanilla essence, 4 eggs, lightly beaten, 350g raisins, 250g sultanas, 200g currants, 100g chopped mixed peel, 150g glace cherries, halved, 100g blanched almonds, chopped, brandy.
You will need: 1 x 20cm round or 18cm square cake tin, greaseproof baking paper, 1 x medium bowl, 1 x large mixing bowl, large airtight container, tin foil, skewer, wooden spoon, teaspoon, tablespoon, knife, sieve, oven gloves, wire rack.
To decorate:Icing sugar to dust, 200g marzipan (see marzipan recipe) 1-2tbsp apricot jam, warmed, 454g rolled icing (see rolled icing recipe)
Method: Preheat the oven to 150c/300f/gas mark 2. Grease a 20cm round or 18cm square cake tin and line with non-stick greaseproof baking paper.
- Sieve the flour, salt and spices into a bowl.
- Using a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, add the treacle, marmalade and vanilla, and mix until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs a little at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the flour mixture with the remaining egg.
- Fold in the remaining flour mixture until well combined, then stir in the fruit and almonds.
- Pour the mixture into a tin and make a slight hollow in the centre.
- Bake for 3 hours, then test with a skewer – it is ready if the skewer comes out clean, if not ready, continue to bake up to an hour extra, testing every 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn onto a wire rack.
- Once cool, make a few holes in the top of the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tbsp brandy. Store the cake, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. For a rich moist cake, spoon over 1-2 tbsp of brandy once a week for 2 weeks.
Rolled Icing with a lemon twist
Ingredients: 50 grams butter, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, 675 grams icing sugar.
You will need: a rolling pin, sieve, a medium sized mixing bowl, wooden spoon, a saucepan, tablespoon, cling film.
To cover: a 23cm/9inch round cake
- Place the butter and lemon juice in a small saucepan over a gentle heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted.
- Add 225g (8 oz) of the icing sugar and heat gently, stirring until dissolved. When the mixture begins to simmer at the side of the pan, increase the heat slightly and allow the mixture to boil gently without over-boiling.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 225g (8 oz) more icing sugar. Beat thoroughly using a wooden spoon then transfer the icing into a mixing bowl.
- Gradually mix in the remaining icing sugar to give a soft dough.
- Place the dough onto a lightly dusted surface (icing sugar) and knead until the texture is smooth.
- Gently roll into a ball and wrap the icing in cling film and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
- To use, roll out onto a lightly dusted surface of icing sugar and use to decorate.