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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.

ServeS: 20

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.

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