Easy Christmas Cake

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Easy Christmas Cake

Ingredients

175g butter, chopped
200g dark muscovado sugar
500g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas and currents)
100g mixed peel
100g chopped glacé cherries
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon             
85g ground almond
200g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice

Method

Add the butter, sugar, fruit, zests, juice and 100ml/3½fl oz brandy in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil while stirring, until the butter has melted. Reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150C/ fan 130C / gas mark 2 and line a 20cm round cake tin. Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them until evenly browned - remember to keep an eye on them as they burn easily. Once they are cool, chop roughly. Stir the eggs, nuts and ground almonds into the fruit mixture and mix well then sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the pan. Stir in gently, until there are no traces of flour left.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down evenly - to get an even finish use the back of a metal spoon which has been dipped into boiling water.

Bake for 45 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140C/ fan120C / gas mark 1 and cook for a further 1-1¼ hours (about a further 1¾ hours if you have a gas oven) until the cake is dark golden in appearance and firm to the touch. You can cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken too much. To check the cake is done, insert a skewer into the centre - if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

Make holes all over the warm cake with the skewer and spoon the extra 4tbsp brandy over the holes until it has all soaked in and leave the cake to cool in the tin. Once cool, remove it from the tin and peel off the lining paper. You can now decorate your cake or wrap first in baking parchment and then in foil to decorate at a later date. Once wrapped, the cake will keep in a cupboard for up to three months or you can freeze it for six months.

Products used

Master Class Ceramic Non-Stick Induction Ready 20cm Saucepan
Master Class Electronic Add 'N' Weigh Platform Scales
Kitchen Craft Beech Wood 30cm Scraper Spoon
Kitchen Craft Easy Store Magnetic Measuring Spoons
Sweetly Does It Stainless Steel Cake Tester
Master Class Silver Anodised 20cm Deep Cake Pan
Master Class Ceramic Non-Stick Eco 20cm Fry Pan
Reo 6 Piece Pinch and Measure Prep Set