Christmas recipe: Christmas Cake

Here is a luxuriously tasty Christmas Cake. One recipe for the pros out there!

christmas cake2

Serves 20

Ingredients

· 1kg mixed dried fruit

· 100g glacé cherries, halved

· 150ml brandy or dark rum, plus 3 tablespoons

· 175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

· 10 tablespoons Splenda granulated sweetener

· 4 eggs

· 2 tablespoons black treacle

· finely grated zest and juice of 1 small orange

· 100g ground almonds

· 300g plain flour

· ¼ teaspoon salt

· 1 teaspoon mixed spice

for the icing:

· 4 tablespoons apricot baking glaze or sieved apricot jam

· icing sugar, for dusting

· 500g marzipan

· 750g ready-rolled icing

Method:

Make this cake a couple of days before Christmas and use within ten days – it will not keep quite as long as a traditional cake.

The day before baking the cake, put the dried fruit, cherries and rum or brandy into a large bowl. Stir well and cover. Soak for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

The next day, grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. In a very large bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one by one, then stir in the treacle. Add the orange zest, juice and ground almonds. Sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice, then fold in using a large metal spoon. Stir in the soaked dried fruit, mixing thoroughly.

Tip into the cake tin and level with the back of a spoon. Bake for about 2¼ hours. After 2 hours, cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper to prevent it from getting too dark. To check whether the cake is done, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake – it should come out clean. If not, cook for a little longer.

Leave the tin on a wire rack to cool completely, then remove the tin. Spoon over the extra 3 tablespoons brandy or rum, letting it soak in. Warm the apricot glaze or jam, then brush it all over the cake. Dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out half the marzipan into a long strip. Trim it to fit around the sides of the cake and place in position. Roll out the remaining marzipan into a circle and fit it on top of the cake. Cover with clingfilm and allow to harden for 24 hours.

The following day, dust your work surface and a rolling pin with icing sugar. Roll out the ready-rolled icing and continue to roll until it’s large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake. Smooth the icing over the cake with your hands. Trim off any excess and decorate to your liking.

Per serving: 587kcal; 6g protein; 16g fat; 5.4g saturated fat; 105g carbohydrates; 93g sugar; 2.8g fibre; 0.15g sodium

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