If you don’t usually make a Christmas Cake or think you have left it too late (like me) here is an easy recipe for how to make a last minute Christmas Cake.
All ingredients are available from Waitrose.
1kg Waitrose Vine Fruit Mix
125g Waitrose Love Life soft Argen Prunes, chopped
125g Waitrose Love Life soft Apricots, chopped
100g Dried Cranberries
175g Unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing the tin
250g Dark brown muscovado sugar
250g tin Clement Faugier Chestnut Vanilla spread (also available from Amazon)
125ml of Cherry Brandy (or ordinary brandy) reserving 1 tbsp for the top
Finely grated zest of one lemon
Grated zest and juice of 3 Clementines
3 Eggs, beaten
250g Plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Ground nutmeg
1 tsp Mixed spice
For the Icing
4 tbsp of Cherry or apricot preserve
1 x 500g Pack of home baking marzipan
Icing sugar for dusting
Ribbon and decorations
Place all the fruits, butter, sugar, chestnut spread, brandy, lemon zest, clementine zest and juice into a large pan.
Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter melts. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease the sides or a 20cm round or square deep sided cake tin and line with non stick baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the tin with a triple layer of brown paper (to prevent the cake cooking and colouring too quickly) and tie with string.
Preheat the oven to 150C, gas mark 2. Tip the cooled fruit into a large mixing bowl.
Combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and spices.
Stir in the beaten eggs and sieve in the dry ingredients, mixing well until thoroughly combined.
Pour into the prepared tin.
Bake in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the top of the cake is a little cracked and dry to touch (I baked mine for 3.15 and it was a little well done) A skewer inserted will come out a little sticky but the cake is done. Discard the brown paper from around the tin to cool the cake quicker.
Spike the top with a cocktail stick and drizzle over the remaining brandy.
When the cake has cooled completely remove from the tin and place on a board.
To ice the cake, gently warm the jam in a small pan with 1 tbsp or water until melted.
Sieve the jam, then using a pastry brush, cover the cake with the warm jam.
Knead the marzipan until softened, then roll out thinly on an icing sugar dusted surface to fit the top and sides of your cake.
Drape it over the cake, pressing down to cover. Trim off any excess.
Repeat with the fondant icing but without using the jam.
Decorate either with stars cut from the left over icing, or however you wish. I used some tinsel around the cake to cover the sides and some small pine cones (parcel decorations) on the top.
All done in a few hours and ready to eat!
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