Le Christmas Cake

christmas cake wood.jpg

This fruit cake has become something of a Christmas tradition. Not one for spending too long in the kitchen I found this fling it all in boiled fruit cake a number of years back and have stuck with it ever since. It doesn't contain alcohol although the fruit juice could easily be switched for whatever you like and the golden syrup is my own addition, but again this could be replaced with the same quantity of treacle. I like to think the golden syrup gives it an added gloriousness. 

Normally I decorate it with ready to roll fondant, but decided I wanted more of a rustic festive wonderland look so opted to cover with snowy royal icing peaks which proved pretty easy to execute. 

The benefit of this kind of cake is that you can make it very last minute as it doesn't require any proofing/ maturing time like a traditional fruit cake, however it does last for weeks and could easily be made weeks in advance and stored in a tin if desired.

Makes 1 x 20cm cake

150g plain flour, sifted
50g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1tsp nutmeg
100g ground almonds
3 medium eggs lightly beaten

Fruit mix
mixed bag - seedless raisins, sultanas, mixed cut peel 500g
200g ready to eat stones dates chopped
150g - 175g butter chopped
200g dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml orange juice or alcohol - brandy. whisky etc

Marmalade warmed 
1 box of royal icing

1. Preheat oven to 150, fan 130.
2. For the fruit mix put all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently, stirring occassionally until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Increase te heat, bring to the boil , then set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with non stick baking paper. 
3. Put the flours, spices and ground almonds in a large bowl and stir in the cooled fruit mixture and eggs until combined. Tap the tin to remove any bubbles.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until golden and firm to the touch. To check if it's cooked insert a skewer to the centre. ( I found my cake took about 2 hours 25 minutes keeping a carefully eye on it!)
5. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before removing from tin.
6. At this stage you can ice/ decorate when the cake is completely cool or I left it till the following day.
7. Heat some marmalade and spread lightly over cake. I actually slightly levelled the cake to give a smooth finish. 
8. Make up the royal icing as per pack instructions - by adding water and whipping to snowy peaks. 
9. Spread a large dollop of the icing on the centre of the cake and working quickly smooth over the top and down the sides.
10. Taking your palette knife go round the outside of the cake smoothing as  you go. For the peaks add a bit more icing on top then pat and drag the palette knife upwards to create a mountain of trees. 

Add a selection of dried fruits or other decor as desired. I love my little bambi cake topper but some candied oranges and rosemary looked a lot nicer in the images.