Snowy Christ­mas fruit cake

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - FOOD FESTIVE BAKES -

SERVES 16-24

450g raisins

240g sul­tanas

160g dried cur­rants

160g med­jool dates, pit­ted and chopped

140g sliv­ered al­monds

180ml brandy, plus 2-3 tbsp ex­tra

250g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened

220g light brown su­gar

4 medium eggs

335g plain flour, sifted

¼ tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda, sifted

1½ tsp ground cin­na­mon

1 tsp ground all­spice

WHITE IC­ING + ON TOP

320g ic­ing su­gar, sifted, plus ex­tra for dust­ing

1-1½ tbsp boil­ing wa­ter gin­ger­bread snow­men (see Cook­ies on Top, op­po­site), for dec­o­rat­ing twigs, for dec­o­rat­ing (op­tional)

★ Place the raisins, sul­tanas, cur­rants, dates and al­monds in a large bowl. Add the brandy, mix to com­bine and cover with cling­film. Al­low to soak in a cool dark place overnight, mix­ing oc­ca­sion­ally.

★ Pre­heat oven to 140C/gas 1. Line a 20cm round cake tin (10cm deep) with 2 lay­ers of non­stick bak­ing pa­per. Place the but­ter and su­gar in the bowl of an elec­tric mixer and beat on medium speed for 8 min­utes or un­til pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion. Set aside.

★ Add the flour, bi­car­bon­ate of soda, cin­na­mon and all­spice to the soaked fruit and mix well, en­sur­ing the fruit is evenly coated with flour. Add the but­ter mix­ture and stir un­til well com­bined. Spoon into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 2 hours or un­til cooked when tested with a skewer.

★ Spoon over the ex­tra brandy while the cake is still warm. Al­low to cool com­pletely in the tin.

★ To make the ic­ing, place the su­gar and wa­ter in a medium bowl and mix to com­bine. Turn the cake out on to a cake stand or plate. Spoon on the ic­ing and smooth with a pal­ette knife. Dust the snow­men with su­gar and place on the cake. Add dec­o­ra­tive twigs to serve, if wished.

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