Grand Marnier fruit cake
PREP AND COOK TIME 5 HOURS 40 MINUTES (+ STANDING AND COOLING TIME) 3 cups (500g) sultanas 1½ cups (250g) mixed peel ¾ cup (120g) chopped raisins ¾ cup (105g) chopped pitted dried dates 2/3 cup (120g) chopped pitted prunes ½ cup (125g) chopped dried apricots 2/3 cup (150g) chopped crystallised pineapple ½ cup (70g) slivered almonds ½ cup (55g) coarsely chopped walnuts 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind ½ cup (110g) caster sugar ¼ cup (60ml) orange juice ½ cup (125ml) Grand Marnier 250g butter, softened ½ cup (110g) firmly packed brown sugar 5 eggs 2 cups (300g) plain flour 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, extra
1kg ready-made white icing 1 egg white, beaten lightly ½ cup (80g) pure icing sugar, sifted 25cm round covered cake board decorative ribbon silver cachous 1 Combine the fruit, nuts and rind in a large bowl. 2 To make the syrup, heat the caster sugar in a medium heavy-based frying pan over low heat, without stirring, until it begins to melt; stir gently until the sugar is melted and a golden caramel colour. Remove from heat, slowly stir in juice; return to low heat, stir until toffee lumps dissolve (do not boil). Stir in liqueur. 3 Pour the syrup over the fruit mixture; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap; store the mixture in a cool, dark place for up to 3 weeks, stirring every day. 4 Preheat oven to 150°C (130°C fan-forced). Line the base and sides of a deep 22cm round or deep 20cm square cake pan with three layers of baking paper, extending the paper 5cm above the edge of the pan. 5 Beat butter and brown sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer only until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir the butter mixture into the fruit mixture; stir in sifted flour. Spread the cake mixture into the pan. Bang pan firmly on a bench to settle the mixture into the pan; level mixture with a wet spatula. 6 Bake cake for 3½ hours or until a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove cake from oven, brush with the extra liqueur; cover hot cake with foil then turn upside down to cool overnight. 7 Trim the top of the cake with a sharp knife to ensure it sits flat when turned upside down. Mix a little white icing and cold boiled water to a sticky paste. Spread about 2 tablespoons of this mixture into the centre of a 30cm square piece of baking paper; position the cake, trimmed-side down, on paper. 8 Using a spatula and small pieces of icing, patch any holes on the cake. 9 Brush egg white evenly over the cake. Knead white icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar until smooth; roll until 6mm thick. Lift icing onto cake with the rolling pin; smooth the icing over cake using your hands dusted with icing sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut the excess icing away from base of cake. 10 Mix scraps of white icing and cold boiled water to a sticky paste. Spread 2 tablespoons of paste in the centre of the cake board. Lift the cake and paper onto the board, moving the cake into the correct position; using a sharp craft knife or scalpel, cut away the excess baking paper extending around the base of the cake. Secure ribbon around cake using pins (remove before cutting cake). Push cachous gently into the icing in the design of your choice.