Christmas or rich fruit cakes like these are relatively easy to make. The two main problems are shopping and cooking. I spend hours walking around the supermarket trying to get all the bits and pieces together, and the other is the cooking take it slowly, this cake takes at least 5 ½ hours.
For the cake
- 150 ml Whisky or Brandy
- 1 large lemon, zest and juice
- 1 large orange, zest and juice
- 4 tbsp runny honey
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- 200 g currants
- 200 g fat sultanas
- 100 g raisins
- 80 g mixed peel
- 200 g salted butter, at room temperature
- 200 g soft brown sugar
- 3 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature
- 200 g plain flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 40 g ground almonds
- 40 g nibbed or flaked almonds
- 80 g whole natural glace cherries
- 3 tbsp milk
For the top
- 2 tbsp smooth apricot jam, warmed
- 2 kg marzipan
- 600 g royal icing
- The first job is to place the booze, lemon and orange zest and juice, honey and treacle into a bowl and whisk together well.
- Add the fruit and again really mix well, then cover and leave at room temp for 12 hours but best for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Wrap the tin in 2 layers of brown paper and tie with string, then line the 11" cake tin with at least two layers of greaseproof or silicone paper, leave at least 1½" above the tin.
- Pre-heat the oven to 150C, gas 2.
- Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat well until creamy no need to go mad.
- Add eggs together, slowly and gradually add slowly, then add the flour and mix well but do not overbeat.
- Next, add the spices, nuts, cherries and all the fruit and juices, stir in well.
- Carefully spoon into the tin, cover loosely with greaseproof paper and pop in the oven.
- Remove the top paper at about the 4½ hour mark.
- When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes. Then turn out and leave to cool overnight.
- Cover with marzipan at least ¾" thick and ice with royal icing, not sugar paste, at least three coats.
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