This is a nice easy cake to make if you don’t have the time to be cutting out, shaping & making fondant items to decorate it with.
Just pop to the shop and buy some plastic ones, along with a cake frill to wrap around and a Christmas themed cake board 😉
This is an 8”/21cm cake.
1 lb (450g) currants
6 oz (175g) sultanas
2 oz (50g) glace cherries
2 oz (50g) candied peel
8 oz (225g)plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
8 oz (225g) unsalted butter
8 oz (225g) soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
You will also need an 8 inch (21cm) round cake tin
500g ready to roll fondant
6Tbsp apricot jam
You need to start this cake the night before you want to cook it. All you do is weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and mix in the hot tea. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave the fruit to absorb the tea for up to 12 hours.
Next day pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C). Then measure out all the rest of the ingredients. The treacle will be easier to measure if you remove the lid and place the tin in a small pan of barely simmering water. Now begin the cake by sifting the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until it’s light, pale and fluffy. Now beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the creamed mixture a tablespoonful at a time; keep the whisk running until all the egg is incorporated. If you add the eggs slowly by degrees like this the mixture won’t curdle. If it does, don’t worry, any cake full of such beautiful things can’t fail to taste good!
When all the egg has been added, fold in the flour and spices, using gentle, folding movements and not beating at all (this is to keep all that precious air in). Now fold in the fruit, peel and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests. Next, using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Finally cover the top of the cake with a double square of baking parchment with a 50p-size hole in the centre (this gives extra protection during the long slow cooking).
Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4½-4¾ hours. Sometimes it can take up to ½-¾ hour longer than this, but in any case don’t look till at least 4 hours have passed. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling. When it’s cold ‘feed’ it – make small holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy, wrap it in foil secured with an elastic band and store in an airtight container. You can now feed it at odd intervals until you need to ice it.
This particular cake has no alcohol in it. You don’t have to add alcohol if you don’t want it.
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 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.
Attach your plastic decorations and cake frill.