This cake is lighter than traditional Christmas cake but there are enough common ingredients to strike up a friendship between the two.
It keeps for months if well-wrapped and stored in a cool place. This means it’s ideal for making around August or September to be properly mature in time for Christmas. Add some pokey alcohol and it’s a proper grown up’s cake by anybody’s standards.
Allow a day or two before you plan to bake it as it’s made in two stages:
1. Chopping and soaking the fruit for a day or so.
2. Mixing all the ingredients together and baking.
The recipe makes a 10” square cake (3” depth). Double-line a 10” square tin with greased parchment or greaseproof paper and give the cake tin a ‘collar’ of an inch or so (ie, cut the paper so that it is taller than the tin by about an inch).
Chop the fruits below fairly small. These will be steeped in alcohol, or fruit juice, if you prefer a non-alcoholic cake
100g Crystallised Ginger
200g Glace Cherries
100g Crystallised Pineapple
100g Candied Peel
300g Chopped Apricots
Juice and zest of an orange
Juice and zest of a lemon
10 TBS Malibu (or spirit to your liking)
Ingredients to be added to the soused fruits:
375g Demerara sugar
450g Plain Flour
125g Ground Almonds
225g Chopped Pecans
1.25 tsp Baking Powder
- In a large bowl stir together the chopped fruits with the orange / lemon zest, juice and the 10 tbs or so of your chosen alcohol or fruit juice.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to soak 24 – 36 hours.
On the day you bake:
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and ground almonds together.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and give them a quick whisk.
- Add the eggs and butter mixtures to the flour alternately, a little at a time.
- Stir the chopped pecans and soaked fruit to the cake batter.
Baking time is approximately 3 hours at two different temperatures – see below.
Pre-heat oven to 160°
Transfer the mixture to the cake tin.
Cover the cake with a square of parchment. Place on the middle shelf of the oven.
Bake for 1.25 hours at 160°.
Turn the cake round, reduce the temperature to 150° and bake for a further 1.5 – 2.0 hours.
Check the cake with a skewer during the last stage of baking. When the skewer comes out clean, take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Remove the cake from the tin, wrap in parchment and a final wrap of tin foil. Mine is a little overdone around the edges (I forgot to check it in its last hour… pah) but these will be sliced off before icing.
This cake will keep for months and will taste even better for leaving it to mature, especially if you give it a regular feed (a TBS or so) of Malibu, or other spirit / juice, until you’re either ready to eat it or wish to cover it with marzipan and fondant / royal icing, etc.
Or just be daring and eat it naked. Told you it was a proper grown up’s cake…