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Light and Fruity Christmas Cake



Dried fruit* – Mixture of currents and raisins (70%) along with apricots, peaches, pears, apple rings, sultanas, glacé cherries (30%)

Liquid* – peach schnapps

Sugar* – soft, light-brown sugar

Syrup* – golden syrup

Nuts* – unsalted cashews or blanched almonds

Spice* – Allspice, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, mace



Round tin 15cm 18cm 20cm 23cm
Square tin 12.5cm 15cm 18cm 20cm
Dried fruit* 700g 800g 900g 1.1kg
Liquid* 60ml 75ml 100ml 115ml
Orange, rind and juice 1 small 1 small 1 large 1 large
Butter or margarine 125g 150g 175g 225g
Sugar* 125g 150g 175g 225g
Syrup* 1 tbsp 1 tbsp 1½ tbsp 2 tbsp
Eggs 3 large 4 large 4 large 6 medium
Plain flour 125g 150g 175g 225g
Baking powder ½ tsp ½ tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp
Ground mixed spice* 2 tsp 2.5 tsp 3 tsp 1.5 tbsp
Nuts, chopped* 75g 125g 150g 175g
Ground almonds 65g 65g 125g 150g
Cooking time 2 hours 2–2½ hours 2½–3 hours 3–3½ hours



1              Cut your chosen dried fruit into bite-sized pieces and put them into a bowl with the chosen tipple. Stir well, cover and leave overnight.

2              Preheat your oven to 160˚C . Grease and line your chosen size of cake tin with a double thickness of greaseproof paper. Cream the margarine/butter, sugar and syrup together, and gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together in a separate bowl. Add a little of this in between adding the eggs if the mixture should start to curdle.

3              Fold in the remaining flour with the fruit, tipple, nuts and almonds and mix well, then spoon into the appropriate tin. As an extra precaution I put a double layer of brown paper around the tin on the outside and cut it so that it rises up a further 10cm above the top of the tin. This gives it some extra protection against burning in the oven, although it may extend the cooking time a little.

4              Bake as indicated and check the cake halfway through the cooking process – if it is browning too quickly, cover it with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and reduce the temperature to 130˚C.

5              Test with a skewer 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready; if it comes out coated in a sticky cake mixture, cook it for a further 15 minutes and then retest. Leave to cool in the tin.

6              Remove the wrappings, then rewrap the now cool cake in greaseproof paper and foil. I pierce a few holes in the paper and foil and drizzle some peach schnapps over the top (just to get it used to the process, you’ll understand) immediately, and then once a week until the 22nd December (when the marzipan goes on), and 23rd December (when it is iced, ready for its first outing on Christmas Eve, when it’s served with an Amaretto and Coke – for me).

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