- 250g butter, at room temperature
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 140g light muscovado sugar
- 6 large eggs, beaten
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- 280g plain flour
- 85g ground almond
arr-mund or al-mund
Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…
- 2 tsp ground ginger
Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…
- 700g luxury mixed fruit (including raisins, currants, sultanas, mixed peel and glace cherries)
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 140g white marzipan, diced
One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…
For the florentine topping
- 50g each whole skinned hazelnut and blanched almonds
Grown in Europe and the US, hazelnuts are encased in a smooth, hard brown shell but are most…
- 85g each Brazil nuts and flaked almonds
- 140g whole glacé cherries
- 100g golden syrup
- 1 metre of wide ribbon
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Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C and lightly grease and line the base and sides of a deep 22-23cm round loose-based cake tin with Bake-o-Glide or baking parchment (see overleaf). Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds and spices until thoroughly mixed and creamy, preferably with an electric beater or in a food mixer.
Measure off 100g/4oz of the cake mixture, put in a bowl and set aside. Fold the fruit and rum into the remaining mixture, then gently stir in the marzipan. Spoon this mixture into the prepared cake tin and flatten with a spatula to make a smooth even surface, then make a slight dip in the centre of the cake. This simple trick will give the finished cake a nice flat top. Bake for 11⁄4 hours.
While the cake is in the oven, make the fruit and nut topping. Mix all the nuts, cherries and syrup into the remaining cake mixture (see tip overleaf). Spoon the mixture on top of the part-cooked cake (once it has had its 11⁄4 hours), evenly distributing the mixture of nuts and cherries across the surface of the cake. Loosely cover the top of the tin with foil.
Return to the oven for 40 minutes more, then take off the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, so the nuts can turn golden. Keep an eye on them, so they don’t get too dark. To test the cake mixture is cooked, insert a fine skewer into the cake – if it comes out clean then it's ready. Cool in the tin then turn out, keeping the lining on, and wrap with foil. (The cake will keep for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 2 months.)
To serve, remove the cake from the foil and strip away the lining. Place on a board or serving plate and tie with a decorative ribbon.
If your Christmas cake simply must have icing, try this easy finish. Put the Festive fruit and nut cake on a plate or cake stand. Sift 140g/5oz icing sugar into a bowl, then stir in egg white or cold water, a little at a time, until you have a smooth icing that drizzles easily from the tip of a dessert spoon. Drizzle over the top of the cake, then leave to set for an hour.