An easy Christmas cake that turns out perfect every time for all occasions. No creaming, beating or soaking of fruit required.

ITEMS NEEDED

Cake

▪ Butter 1 cup (softened)

▪ Raisins 114cup

▪ Black treacle 1 tbsp

▪ Plain flour 2 cups or 275g

▪ Currants 0.5kg

▪ Sultanas 350g

▪ Chopped blanched almonds 23cup or 75g

▪ Oranges 2 (only zest, half of the lemon zest can be used)

▪ Eggs large 4 (at room temperature)

▪ Mixed spices 112tsp

▪ Muscovado sugar(or Khand, either light or dark) 114cup or 250g

▪ Natural glacé cherries 212cup or 350g (halved, rinsed and thoroughly dried) Covering

▪ Powdered sugar

▪ Marzipan 675g

▪ Apricot jam 3 tbsp (warmed and filtered)

Royal icing

▪ Eggs 3 (only white)

▪ Glycerine 112tsp

▪ Lemon juice 3 tsp

▪ Icing sugar 5 cups or 675g (sifted)

PRODUCTION PROTOCOLS TO FOLLOW

  1. Put dried fruits (including cherries) into a mixing bowl and stir in the orange zest. Cover with food wrap (or plastic wrap) and leave it to soak for three days, stirring daily.
  2. Grease and line a 9-in deep round tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 130°C
  3. Measure the eggs, sugar, butter, treacle and almonds into a large bowl and beat well with an electric mixer. Add the flour and ground spice and mix thoroughly until blended. Stir in the soaked fruit. Spoon this mixture into the prepared pan and level the surface
  4. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 412hours, or until the cake feels firm to the touch and is a golden brown
  5. Check after 2 hours, and if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. (a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean) leave the cake to cool in the pan
  6. When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer. Wrap the completely cold cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil and store in a cool place for up to three months (Don’t remove the lining paper when storing as this helps to keep the cake moist.)
  7. The week before you want to serve, begin covering the cake. For the covering, stand the cake upside down (flat side uppermost) on a cake board larger than the size of the cake 8. Brush the sides and the top of the cake with the warm apricot jam.
  8. Loosely dust a work surface with icing sugar and then roll out the marzipan to about 2-in larger than the surface of the cake. Keep moving the marzipan as you roll, checking that it is not sticking to the surface (dust the work surface with more icing sugar as necessary)
  9. Carefully lift the marzipan over the cake using a rolling pin. Gently level and smooth the top of the paste with the rolling pin, then ease the marzipan down the sides of the cake, smoothing it at the same time

Note: If you are careful, you should be able to cover the cake with no excess marzipan to cut but if necessary, neatly trim excess marzipan from the base of the cake with a small sharp knife.

  1. Cover the cake loosely with baking parchment and leave for a few days to dry out before adding the royal icing
  2. For the royal icing, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they become bubbly or foamy. Mix in the sifted icing sugar 1 tablespoonful at a time (you can do this with a hand-held electric mixer, but keep the speed low)
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and glycerine and beat the icing until it is very thick and white and stands up in peaks
  4. Cover the surface of the icing tightly with plastic wrap and keep in a cool place until needed 15. To ice the cake, place all the icing onto the top of the cake. Spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake with a knife (for a snow-peak effect, use a smaller palette knife to rough up the icing) 16. Leave the cake loosely covered overnight for the icing to harden a little

Optional: wrap or store the cake in an airtight container in a cool place until needed.

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