BBC Good Food Magazine

Dark & stormy fruit cake

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Make this Christmas cake a couple of months in advance, if you can, and feed it with rum to give it time to mature and develop deep flavour and texture. But, if you can’t face thinking about Christmas until a week or so before the big day, it will still be delicious.

SERVES 10-12 PREP 25 mins COOK 2 hr 10 mins EASY

V1kg mixed dried fruit or mixed dried fruit with mixed peel (we used a mixture of raisins, sultanas and currants) 150ml spiced rum, plus extra

for feeding

250g butter

200g dark muscovado sugar 1 orange, zested and juiced 1 lemon, zested and juiced 175g plain flour

125g ground almonds ½ tsp baking powder

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

5 balls of stem ginger, chopped 5 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Put the mixed dried fruit in a large pan with the rum, butter, sugar and citrus zest and juice. Set the pan over a medium heat, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and heat until the butter has melted. Leave to cool for 30 mins.

2 Meanwhile, heat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside and secure with string. 3 Tip the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and spices into a large bowl. Add the cooled fruit mix along with the syrupy liquid in the pan, then the stem ginger, eggs and vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon until there are no pockets of flour.

4 Tip the mix into the tin, level the top with a spatula and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 2 hrs until cooked through and golden. Remove from the oven, poke holes into the top with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp rum. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

5 Once cool, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap in fresh parchment and store in an airtight cake tin. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp rum every fortnight, or up to four times until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing. Once iced, the cake will keep in a tin for four weeks. The uniced cake will keep in the freezer for six months.

GOOD TO KNOW 2 of 5-a-day

PER SERVING (12) 645 kcals • fat 26g • saturates 12g •

carbs 85g • sugars 74g • fibre 3g • protein 9g •

salt 0.6g

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