Orange, cranberry and ginger fruit cake
425g (15oz) raisins
225g (8oz) sultanas
225g (8oz) currants
150g (5½oz ) dried cranberries
115g (4oz) almonds, chopped
115g (4oz) glace cherries, rinsed and chopped
115g (4oz) stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of a large orange
150ml (5floz) ginger wine
275g (10oz) unsalted butter at
145g (5oz) light soft brown sugar
145g (5oz) dark soft brown sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
145g (5oz) plain flour
145g (5oz) self-raising flour
75g (2½oz) ground almonds
A good grating of nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon treacle
5 tablespoons ginger wine
3– 4 tablespoons of apricot jam or marmalade Approximately 1.5kg marzipan
Put all the dried fruit, chopped glace cherries, chopped almonds, chopped ginger, finely grated orange zest, orange juice and ginger wine in a large bowl, stir well and cover with a plate. Leave for at least a day to soak, stirring occasionally. I often leave my fruit for up to a week, adding an extra splash of soaking liquor if all has been absorbed.
Once the fruit has been soaked, triple line a 23cm deep round cake tin by cutting six circles of baking parchment, using the base of your tin as a template. Line the sides by measuring a length of baking parchment the same as the circumference of the tin, then fold it on itself so it is slightly deeper than the tin and fold up the bottom 2cm. Make 45 degree cuts along this bottom folded edge before putting it round the inside of your tin. Then insert three of the circles of baking parchment. Cut a 3cm hole in the centre of the three remaining circles and set aside to cover top of mixture.
Pre-heat oven to 140C (130C fan, gas mark one)
Put all ingredients that have not been soaked in a large bowl and beat for about two minutes (I prefer to do this with an electric mixer). The mixture will look smooth and slightly paler when beaten enough.
Fold in the soaked dried fruit and nut mix. Spoon mixture into prepared tin and level surface. Put the three layers of baking parchment with the holes cut out of the centre on the surface of the cake. Tie a band of brown paper around outside of tin.
Bake in the middle of the oven for three-and-a-half to four hours.
(Important - this is the time it takes in my oven with an anodised tin; different ovens and different tins can take considerably different times.) The cake is cooked when nicely browned, springs back when you press it gently and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre.
Allow cake to cool in tin for about 15 minutes, then insert a skewer all over cake and gently pour over four tablespoons of ginger wine. Leave in tin until completely cool.
You can wrap the cake in greaseproof paper at this stage and store in a tin, ‘feeding’ it occasionally with a tablespoon of ginger wine.
To finish, level surface of cake using a long serrated knife. I then like to invert the cake so I am decorating the firmer uncut surface. Using a dressmaker’s tape measure, record the circumference of cake before brushing the top and sides with some sieved apricot jam or marmalade warmed with the remaining tablespoon of ginger wine.
Dust work surface with icing sugar and roll out approximately 500g of kneaded marzipan to a thickness of 5mm. Lift this on to the top of your cake and carefully trim the excess.
Knead 1kg of marzipan and roll this out into a long, thick sausage. Using a rolling pin, roll this sausage into a strip a bit deeper than the height of your cake and slightly longer than the circumference. Cut one of the long and one of the short edges so they are straight. Dust surface of the marzipan liberally with icing sugar, then gently roll it up, starting from uncut end.
Offer up the marzipan to the side of the cake, keeping cut bottom edge square against bottom of cake. Unroll marzipan around side of cake, gently smoothing and pressing it as you go. When the two ends meet, trim off any excess so they fit snugly together.
Use a sharp knife to trim the extra marzipan from top of cake, then smooth all the surfaces. Leave out cake overnight so the marzipan will dry before decorating either with sugarpaste or royal icing.
Tie brown paper around the outside of the tin.
Beat together the mixture until it looks smooth and slightly paler.
Spoon the mixture into the tin.
Add in the soaked fruits, nuts and spices.
Level off the top of the wonderful cooked cake.
Brush the top and sides of the cake with apricot jam or marmalade.
Dust with flour and roll up the marzipan.
Trim the edges of the marizpan.
Unroll the marzipan around the cake.
Smooth the marzipan over the cake.