Ja­maican Christ­mas cake

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Cookery -

The dis­tinc­tive rum flavour gives this cake a warm­ing Caribbean twist! You can leave the fruit steep­ing in the rum and port for up to a week to de­velop an even richer, more in­tense flavour if you have the time. ServeS: 14 For the cake: ✿ 250g (9oz) dried, ready to eat prunes

✿ 200g (7oz) dried, ready to eat dates

✿ 450g (1lb) raisins and 250g (9oz) sul­tanas ✿ 200ml (7fl oz) port

✿ 6tbsp rum

✿ 250g (9oz) un­salted but­ter, soft­ened

✿ 250g (9oz) light mus­co­v­ado sugar

✿ 5 eggs, beaten

✿ 1tsp vanilla ex­tract

✿ 250g (9oz) self-rais­ing flour

✿ 1tbsp each mixed spice and ground cin­na­mon ✿ 100g (3½oz) glacé cher­ries, washed, dried

and quar­tered

For the dec­o­ra­tion:

✿ 2tbsp apri­cot jam

✿ 400g pack ready rolled marzi­pan

✿ Ic­ing sugar, for dust­ing ✿ 500g pack white fon­dant ic­ing

✿ Few drops of green, yel­low and red food colour­ings

You will need: ✿ A 23cm (9in) round, deep cake tin, greased and lined with bak­ing pa­per, and a few sheets of bak­ing pa­per tied round the out­side with string; holly and ivy leaf cut­ters (we used PMe cut­ters) 1 Us­ing scis­sors, snip the prunes and dates into a mix­ing bowl with the raisins and sul­tanas. Pour over the port and rum and cover with cling­film. Leave to soak for at least 24 hrs, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally.

2 Heat the oven to 160C/

Gas 3. Cream the but­ter and sugar with an elec­tric mixer un­til pale and creamy. Grad­u­ally add the eggs and vanilla ex­tract, adding a spoon­ful of flour if the mix­ture cur­dles. Sift over the flour and spices, and fold in gen­tly. Add the cher­ries and soaked fruit. Fold in, spoon into the tin and level the top. 3 Bake the cake in the cen­tre of the oven for 30 mins, then re­duce the oven tem­per­a­ture to 150C/Gas 2, for a fur­ther 1½ hrs or un­til a skewer pushed into the cen­tre comes out clean. Cool for 1 hr in the tin, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. 4 Once the cake is cool, warm the jam and spread thinly all over the cake. Drape over the marzi­pan and, with your hands, smooth down, then trim the edges with a sharp knife. Dust the work­top lib­er­ally with ic­ing sugar and roll out the fon­dant ic­ing to 5mm (¼in) thick. Drape over the cake and, with hands dusted with ic­ing sugar, work­ing from the cen­tre of the cake, smooth the sur­face. Trim off the over­hang and di­vide into three. Colour one dark green for holly, one light green for ivy

(see Cook’s Tip) and one red for berries. Roll out, then form and cut out leaves and berries, and ar­range on top of the cake.

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