I made this simple yet effective cake for a friend.
This was made in a 6”/16cm cake tin.
6 oz of softened butter
6 oz brown sugar
½ lb of plain flour (use white flour for a traditional result and wholemeal for a darker cake)
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp of salt (this really helps bring out the flavours so don’t leave it out)
1 ¼ tsp ground mixed spice (or a mix of ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves)
1 ¼ lb mixed dried fruit, soaked overnight in the liquid of choice. For this I used tea as my friend didn’t want alcohol in it.
6 Tbsp apricot jam
1lb approx 500g marzipan
1lb approx 500g white ready to roll fondant
green food colouring
7-inch cake tin lined with greaseproof paper, place the tin on the paper and draw around it to get the right size for the lining on the inside.
Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour on your liquid for soaking – no need to measure just keep on adding until the liquid gets to the top of the fruit. Cover tightly with a clean tea towel and leave overnight.
Then when you’re ready to finish the cake, first line your cake tin with greaseproof paper and turn your oven on to Gas Mark 1 (140C or 275F).
Then get another large bowl and add your softened butter and sugar. Give it a quick mix with a wooden spoon, there’s no need to go the whole hog and bash it until it’s properly creamed.
Then crack in your eggs and add the rest of the dried ingredients.
Strain the dried fruit from any remaining liquid and add this into the large bowl.
Give it all a stir until the dried fruit is evenly covered.
You want quite a stiff cake mix at this point, the wooden spoon should stand up unaided in the mix. If the mix is so stiff that you’re finding it hard to get the spoon in and stir then add a swish of saved liquid. But if the cake mix is too sloppy then add a tablespoon or so of flour and stir.
Then heave it all into the lined cake tin and put it in the oven for 3 hours.
You’ll know when the cake is done because the now solidified cake mix will have detached itself from the edge of the tin and shrunk inwards a bit. Also your kitchen will be smelling wonderful.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, for at least 45 minutes – 1 hour, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To decorate, melt 3 Tbsp of jam in the microwave and brush all over the cake. Roll out the marzipan to fit over and around the cake, I rolled mine into a 12”/31cm circle, and place onto the cake, smoothing down with your hand.
You now need to leave it to dry, for about least 2 days.
Again, melt 3 Tbsp of the jam. Roll out the fondant, as you did the marzipan. Place the fondant onto the marzipaned cake.
Colour the left over fondant green, and using holly cutters, cut out some holly leaves. Attach them with a brush just slightly dampened with water then add the berries.