Christmas cake 6-page baking bonanza!
Who doesn’t love a double bake? This recipe combines the usual spiced Christmas fruitcake with delicious, Nordic iced gingerbread stars. It’s a match made in heaven – and the stars are sure to be popular with children and adults alike.
For the Christmas cake:
✿ 500g (1lb 2oz) raisins ✿ 250g (9oz) sultanas ✿ 100g (3½oz) ready to eat prunes, chopped ✿ 75g (2½oz) dried cranberries
✿ 75g (2½oz) dried cherries
✿ 300ml (½pt) Grand Marnier or brandy, plus 6tbsp extra
✿ 2tsp mixed spice
✿ 350g (12oz) soft light brown sugar
✿ 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened ✿ 5 medium eggs, beaten ✿ 250g (9oz) plain flour ✿ 50g (2oz) pistachios, chopped
✿ 50g (2oz) pecans, chopped
For the gingerbread stars: ✿ 200g (7oz) plain flour ✿ ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
✿ 2tsp ground ginger ✿ 60g (2oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into chunks
✿ 90g (3oz) dark brown soft sugar
✿ 1 small egg
✿ 1tbsp golden syrup
For the icing: ✿ 250g (9oz) icing sugar ✿ 1 egg white
You will need: ✿ 20cm (8in) deep cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper, and wrapped with brown paper and string 1 Preheat oven to 170C/ Gas 3. Put all the fruits in a large pan and cover with the 300ml alcohol. Add the mixed spice and 2tbsp of the brown sugar and heat gently for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and stand for 30 mins. 2 Cream the remaining sugar with the butter until pale. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour to prevent curdling, if necessary. Fold in the remaining flour, nuts and cooled fruits with any liquid from the pan. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and make a well in the centre. 3 Bake for 2½ hrs or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly, cover it with brown paper. Once cooked, leave for 15 mins in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in fresh baking paper and foil and store in a cool, dark place for 2-4 weeks. Feed weekly with Grand Marnier or brandy, if you like. To ice your cake, see
Cook’s tip (below).
4 For the gingerbread: Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, butter and dark brown sugar until the mixture resemble crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and golden syrup together and add to the mixture gradually while mixing continuously. Once combined, shape the mixture into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 20 mins in the fridge. 5 Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Remove gingerbread dough from the fridge and roll out to 2mm thickness. Then, using a star cutter, cut out shapes and place them on to a nonstick baking tray. Bake for 6 mins or until golden. Once out of the oven, allow to cool slightly, then remove to a cooling rack until cold. 6 To making the icing: sieve the icing sugar into the bowl of a mixer and add the egg white with 1tsp of water. With the whisk attachment, mix on a low speed for 10 mins. Adjust the consistency by adding a little more water or icing sugar as necessary. It should look and feel like toothpaste.
7 Use a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle to pipe pretty snowflake decorations on to the cold biscuit stars with the icing. Pile the stars over and around the cake to finish.