This fruity Christmas cake will get you feeling festive in no time...
Cooking time: 135mins
650g (1lb 7½ oz) mixed dried fruit
100g (3½ oz) dried cranberries
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
100ml (3½ fl oz) brandy or cherry brandy, plus 4tbsp extra
175g (6fl oz) Lactofree spreadable
200g (7oz) brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g (3½ oz) ground almonds
200g (7oz) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1tsp mixed spice
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1tsp ground cinnamon
1. Place the mixed dried fruit, dried cranberries, orange zest and juice, Lactofree spreadable and 100ml (3½oz) brandy in a large saucepan. Gently bring to the boil, stirring until the Lactofree spreadable has completely melted.
2. Reduce the heat and allow to bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2 and line the base and sides of a greased 20cm (8in) round cake tin with baking parchment.
4. Put the brown sugar, eggs and ground almonds into the fruit mixture and stir until well mixed. Then sift the flour, baking powder and spices directly into the pan and stir in gently until the flour is well mixed and no longer visible.
5. Spoon the mixture into your prepared cake tin and smooth over evenly.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the heat down to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1 and cook for a further 1½ hours until the cake is a dark golden colour and firm to the touch. Insert a fine skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If not, return to the oven for a further 10 minutes at a time and cover loosely with foil if the cake starts to darken too much.
7. Remove once cooked and pierce holes with a fine skewer all over. Slowly spoon the extra 4 tbsp of brandy over the holes until soaked in.
8. Leave the cake to cool in the tin and, once cold, remove from the tin, remove baking parchment and and wrap tightly in a layer of fresh parchment and then in foil. Your cake will keep for up to 3 months, or can be frozen for up to 6 months