Method

Let's Talk - - LET’S BAKE -

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

room tem­per­a­ture

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

To fin­ish

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.

In­gre­di­ents.

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.

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