- 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 225g light muscovado sugar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- 225g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice
- zest 1 small orange
One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…
- 85g pecans or walnuts, toasted, then roughly chopped
Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…
For the fruit
- 150ml cloudy apple juice
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
The rising spring sap of a number of varieties of maple tree…
- 5 tbsp dark rum
- 800g mixed dried fruit (the kind that includes mixed peel)
- 175g dried cranberries
A tart, ruby-red coloured berry which grows wild on shrubs throughout northern Europe and North…
To feed the cake (each time)
Start with the fruit. Pour the apple juice into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the butter, let it melt, then take off the heat and add the syrup and rum. Put the mixed fruit and cranberries into a large bowl, pour over the hot rum mix, then cover tightly with cling film and leave overnight.
The next day, heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and double-line a 20cm round, deep cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale, then gradually beat in the eggs until light and fluffy. If the mix starts to split or look lumpy, add 1 tbsp of the flour and keep beating. Sift in the flour, spices and 1/4 tsp salt, and fold in using a large spoon. Fold in the orange zest, nuts, soaked fruit and soaking liquid.
Spoon the batter into the tin, level the top, then make a slight dimple in the middle using the back of the spoon. Bake for 1 hr 30 mins, then reduce oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1 and bake for a further 1 hr 45 mins or until it has risen, is a dark golden colour and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Put the tin on a cooling rack and leave until warm.
To feed the cake the first time, use a cocktail stick to poke all over the top of the warm cake. Stir together the rum and maple syrup, then slowly spoon over the cake. Cool completely, then remove the baking parchment, wrap loosely in clean baking parchment and store in an airtight tin. Feed the cake every week to 10 days until you decorate it.
To cover, ice and decorate your cake, see 'goes well with' for instructions on how to make our Midwinter candle cake, Sparkly bauble cake or Sparkling snowfetti cake.