Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cake(Iced Fruit Cake)

For the cake
1lb 2oz sultana raisins

9oz golden raisins

7oz glacé(candied) cherries, halved

4oz dried currants

4oz cut mixed peel

4oz  dried figs, roughly chopped

4oz dried apricots,  chopped

4oz dried pitted prunes, roughly chopped

5fl oz brandy

1 small orange, grated zest and juice

9oz unsalted butter, at room temperature

200g/7oz dark muscovado sugar

5 medium eggs

10 oz AP flour

7oz macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Finishing decoration:
3 Tablespoons apricot jam

1lb marzipan

5oz ready-to-roll white fondant icing

Royal icing

Candy silver balls, to decorate

Powdered sugar, to dust

1.       Put the sultanas, raisins, cherries, currants, peel, figs, apricots and prunes in a large bowl and pour over the brandy, orange zest and juice. Mix well, cover and leave to stand overnight.

2.       Line the base of a 23cm/9in cake tin with a double thickness of parchment paper. Line the sides of the tin with a double thickness of parchment paper, so that it rises 1½-2in above the edge of the tin. Wrap a sheet of folded parchment around the outside of the tin and secure with string. Stand the prepared tin on a parchment baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 300° F.

3.       In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle. Add the fruit, its soaking liquid and the nuts and mix well. Stir in the flour, taking care not to over mix it. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake for 3-4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top of the cake starts to get too brown, cover with a sheet of parchment.

4.       When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. Store the cake in an airtight tin, wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil for between two and three months. Feed the cake with brandy every 2-3 weeks until you are ready to decorate it.

5.       Pass the jam through a sieve and warm it in a pan with 1 tbsp of water. Invert the cake onto a serving plate or board. Use a little of the marzipan to fill any gaps between the cake and the plate. Brush the jam all over the cake. Roll out the remaining marzipan and lift carefully onto the cake, easing it around the sides. Trim off any excess with a sharp knife.

6.       Roll out the fondant icing to a¼” in thickness and cut out as many Christmas shapes as you can, re-rolling the trimmings. Set aside on parchment paper to harden. Meanwhile, make up a batch of royal icing. Spread the icing over the cake to cover it, then roughly peak it using a spatula. Arrange the stars on top and scatter over the silver balls. Leave the icing to harden, then dust the cake with icing sugar.

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