Friday, 2 December 2011

Delicious Christmas Cake

You will need:
9inch diameter cake tin or an 8x8inch square tin
Some greaseproof paper
Ready to roll icing - Shamrock or Dr.Oetker
Rolling pin
Cutters & sprinkles
A nice ribbon to decorate
Icing sugar for dusting
Some warm, sieved apricot jam or golden syrup for fixing marzipan&icing

Ingredients 1:
200g raisins
200s sultanas
110g mixed peel
50g currants
50g dried apricots, chopped
50g stoned dates, chopped
50g glacé cherries, chopped
25g crystallised ginger
125ml brandy
1 dessert spoon golden syrup

1. Put the above ingredients into a large bowl and mix to combine. Allow to soak for at least 2 hours.

Ingredients 2:
250g unsalted butter
250g light brown sugar
4 eggs
250g plain flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
grated rind & zest of 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 150C fan.

Line the cake tin with greaseproof paper and lightly grease the inner sides of the tin to prevent the cake from sticking.

Cream the butter in an electric food mixed until soft. Add the sugar and beat beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating them well before the next one is added.

Stir in the ground almonds, orange zest and spices. Sift in the flour and fold in gently.

Stir in the dried fruit mixture and any brandy remaining in the bowl.

Transfer the mixture to the lined cake tin and smooth the top of the cake with a spatula.

Bake in the oven for 1 hr 50mins - 2 hrs 10mins. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and if it doesn't come out clean, cook the cake for another few minutes.

Take out of the oven and when completely cooled, remove from the tin and wrap in tinfoil until ready to decorate.

Marzipan or no marzipan!?
I am not a big fan of marzipan (almond paste) so I decorated this cake with just one layer of icing and no marzipan layer underneath. Skip to step 2 if you would rather no marzipan layer!

Step 1: Marzipan
Paint the cake with some runny apricot jam or warmed golden syrup.

Roll out your marzipan layer, on a lightly dusted surface, to about 1cm thick.

Place the cake upside down on the almond paste and cut around the edge of the cake with a knife.

Turn the cake right side up and place the marzipan lid on top.

Next, measure the circumference of the cake with a string and cut a strip of marzipan the length of the string and the height of the cake to go around the edge. Use a straight sided water glass to smooth the edges and the joints.

Leave the marzipan to dry for a few days before you ice the cake as otherwise the oils from the almond paste will seep through and ruin your icing.

Step 2: The icing!

Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar. Roll out the icing about 1cm thick.

Paint the cake or the marzipan layer with some more apricot jam or runny golden syrup.

Lift the icing using a rolling pin. Start by laying the icing on the back of the cake and allow it then flop down onto the front of the cake.

Use the flat of your hands to smooth the icing.

Trim away any excess icing and your cake is now ready to decorate as you like!

Cut out different shapes from the leftover icing, use sugar sprinkles and balls or just leave it classic and plain with a nice ribbon if you fancy!

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