Last minute Christmas cake recipe
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 December 2016
So you haven't had time to bake a cake months in advance and then remember to soak it with alcohol at regular intervals. Don't worry, as this simple recipe by Booths will make sure you can have your cake and eat it too.
Serves 8 to 10
700g mixed dried fruits such as: cranberries, soured cherries, raisins, sultanas, currants and dried dates, figs or apricots
450g pack ready-rolled fondant icing
250g butter, softened
250g spelt flour
250g natural marzipan
175g light muscovado sugar
175g glacé cherries
150ml dark rum
50g ground almonds
Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
4 large free range eggs
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tsp ground mixed spice
For the decoration:
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp icing sugar plus extra for dusting
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
Place the dried fruit, cherries, rum, orange zest and juice into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/ gas mark 2. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric whisk, combine until pale, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda with a pinch of salt, then add the mixed spice and ground almonds and stir thoroughly.
Stir in the cooled fruit and pecan nuts and then spoon into the prepared tin. Level the surface and bake for three hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then take out and cool on a rack.
For the decoration, transfer the cake to a serving plate or board. Place the apricot jam in a small saucepan, add a few tablespoons of water and heat gently. Brush the hot jam over the top of the cake. On a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan to a round disc to fit the top of the cake.
Unroll the fondant icing and cut out a circle about 10cm larger than the top of the cake and drape over the top to give a snow scene effect. Arrange the rosemary sprigs on the cake as Christmas trees, using a little extra fondant to secure them onto the top of the cake. Finish off with a light dusting of icing sugar all over.