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Fruity Christmas cake

22 NOVEMBER 2013
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Rich dried fruits, nuts and a dash of brandy go into this delicious, no hassle Christmas cake - a classic, tried-and-tested recipe.

Ingredients

200g Fairtrade dark soft brown sugar
175g unsalted English butter by Sainsbury's, plus extra for greasing
500g Sainsbury's mixed dried fruits
100g dried cranberries
100g Sainsbury's ready to eat dried figs, roughly chopped
100ml basics brandy, plus 3 tablespoons for drizzling
Zest and juice 1 orange
100g macadamia nuts
4 medium British free-range eggs by Sainsbury's, lightly beaten
75g Sainsbury's ground almonds
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice by Sainsbury's
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon by Sainsbury's
350g Sainsbury's golden marzipan
Icing sugar, for dusting
4 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed
350g Sainsbury's ready to roll white icing
60g redcurrants (for decoration)
1 egg white, lightly beaten (for decoration)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for decoration)

Method

1. Put the sugar, butter, dried fruit, cranberries, figs, brandy, orange zest and juice into a large, heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil, stirring well to combine the ingredients. Reduce to a simmer and heat for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

2. Stir the macadamia nuts, eggs and ground almonds into the mixture, then fold in the flour, baking powder and spices.

3. Preheat the oven to 140°C, fan 120°C, gas 1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and level the top with the back of a spoon. Loosely cover with 1 layer of greaseproof paper with a 2cm hole in the centre. Bake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Using a skewer, make holes in the cake and drizzle over the remaining brandy. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.

4. Remove the cake from the tin. On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out enough marzipan to cover the whole of the cake. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the apricot jam, then top with the marzipan. Smooth down the top and sides, being careful to stop any creases forming.

5. Roll out the white icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar until the icing is large enough to cover the whole cake. Brush the marzipan all over with the apricot jam and then cover with the white icing.

6. To decorate the cake; Dip the redcurrants in the egg white and sprinkle over the sugar. Arrange on top of the cake and wrap with a ribbon if you have one, before serving.

Cook's tip: If you have time, soak the dried mixed fruits the night before in a little extra brandy and proceed with the recipe next day - this creates an even more moist cake.

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