For the cake
- 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 2 tbsp brandy
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
- pinch saffron (about 1⁄4tsp strands)
The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 4 egg
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- 225g plain flour
- 50g ground almond
- 1 tsp baking powder
Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…
- 300g raisin
- 300g sultana
- 100g natural-coloured glacé cherry, halved
- 85g mixed peel
- 50g whole blanched almond, roughly chopped
arr-mund or al-mund
Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…
- 50g whole blanched hazelnut, roughly chopped
Grown in Europe and the US, hazelnuts are encased in a smooth, hard brown shell but are most…
- 50g walnut pieces
Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…
Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line a round, deep 20cm cake tin with two layers of baking parchment (see Knowhow, below). Tie a few sheets of newspaper around the outside of the tin, level with the top of the baking parchment.
Heat the brandy in a small pan, then add the saffron and leave to infuse off the heat for a few mins. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then beat together until creamy and smooth. Mix the fruit, nuts and brandy saffron mix into the batter and stir well.
Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top and make a slight dip in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs, then cover loosely with foil to stop the top over-browning. Turn oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and cook for 1 hr more until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then, while it’s still warm, prod the cake all over with a skewer.
Mix the brandy and honey together and spoon over the cake. Wrap up well in foil and keep in an airtight container until Christmas, feeding with more honeyed brandy every so often.
If you like a lighter cake at Christmas, then my honey saffron cake is for you. It’s still full of fruit and nuts but rather than being heavy with treacle and spice, there’s golden sugar and delicate saffron, which shine through in the amber colour and scented flavour. Honey and saffron are natural partners so I’ve drenched it in a boozy honey syrup, too! You can repeat the soaking part of the recipe twice more if you want a more intense flavour.