Jewelled Christmas Cake

This cake, with its decorative fruit topping, glistens like the jewels in a crown and definitely deserves centre stage on the Christmas tea table.

Serves: 18

Plus: To prevent your cake from sinking, never open the oven door until at least half the cooking time has elapsed. Freezing not recommended.

Ingredients

  • 175g glazed Pineapple, chopped
  • 175g mixed dried Cherries (red, green and yellow), halved
  • 125g dried Apricots, chopped
  • 50g Candied Peel or Citron Peel, chopped by hand
  • 125g Sultanas
  • 25g Crystallised Ginger, chopped
  • 6 tbsp white rum
  • 225g Butter
  • 225g unrefined light Caster Sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 225g self-raising Flour
  • 75g Brazil Nuts, chopped
  • 100g Ground Almonds
To decorate
  • Apricot Jam
  • Nuts, GlacĂ© and Dried Fruits, e.g.GlacĂ© Cherries, Stem Ginger, Candied Citrus Peel
  • Ribbon to tie around the cake

Method

  1. Soak all the fruit, along with the ginger, in the rum overnight.
  2. Grease and line a 20 cm round or an 18 cm square cake tin. (For method see below.)
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and fold in carefully. Stir in the soaked fruit with the Brazil nuts and ground almonds.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, making sure that it is pushed well into the corners, then level the surface. Dip a tablespoon in boiling water, then rub the back of the spoon over the mixture to make it smooth.
  5. Bake for 2–21⁄4 hours in the oven at Gas Mark 2/150°C/fan oven 130°C until it is golden brown and firm to the touch. Insert a skewer into the centre and, if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. When completely cold, remove from the cake from the tin. Peel off the baking
    parchment and rewrap the cake in paper and foil or store in an airtight tin.
    The cake can be left to mature for up to 4 weeks before decorating.

Lining the cake tin

You need to use two sheets of greaseproof paper or baking parchment.

  1. Lightly oil the inside of the tin. Cut out a strip of paper about 2.5 cm longer than the outside of the tin and 5 cm wider.
    (Measure using string). Fold in about 2 cm along the long edge.
    Then make diagonal cuts along the folded edge at 2.5 cm intervals. Fit inside the tin with the folded edge sitting flat on the base.
    If you have a square tin fit the paper tightly into the corners.
  2. Place the tin on two sheets of paper and draw around the base. Cut two pieces of paper to fit snugly into the base of the tin.
  3. Before baking, tie some thick brown paper or newspaper around the edge of the tin so that it comes above the tin by about 10 cm.

To decorate

Brush the top of the cake with sieved apricot jam. Arrange your choice of fruit on the top in an attractive pattern and use more apricot jam to glaze the top of the fruit. Tie a ribbon around the middle of the cake.

This recipe comes from the Women's Institute Complete Christmas, a book by Sian Cook and Margaret Williams published by Simon Schuster in 2010.


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