Festive fruit & nut cake
- Preparation and cooking time
- Prep: -
- Cuts into 12-16 slices
This fabulously moist and nutty Christmas cake is baked with a syrup and nut topping - a bit like a Florentine biscuit
For the florentine topping
- 1 metre of wide ribbon
- STEP 1
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.
- STEP 2
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.
- STEP 3
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.
- STEP 4
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.)
- STEP 5
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.