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Of the many Christmas cake recipes under my sleeve, this one I enjoy making the most often. It is moist, not too dark or overly rich and always a pleaser at family gatherings. For me it also doubles as a perfectly lovely Christmas dessert. An added bonus is that it is also very easy to make. The cake is delicious served with coffee, tea or sweet wine.
Prep time 30 minutes. Cooking time 5 hours plus cooling
500 gm. sultanas
500 gm. raisins
250 gm. currants
250 gm. chopped candied orange or dried orange peel
180 ml brandy
200 gm. blanched almonds
400 gm. butter
450 gm. brown sugar
9 eggs, lightly beaten
450 gm. plain flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Start the first part of this recipe the day before. Combine the dried fruit, candied orange and brandy in a large bowl, cover and leave to macerate overnight.
You will need a 23cm square cake tin for this recipe. Line the base with a double layer of brown paper, and then line the sides with four layers of brown paper. Cut a further layer for the top of the cake. Lightly grease and snip a few holes in it and set aside while you mix your ingredients for the cake.
Preheat the oven to 130C.
Finely chop about 150gm of the almonds, reserving about 100gm to decorate the top of the cake.
Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy; add the egg mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Then stir in the fruit and chopped almonds, add the flour and baking powder, stir until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and decorate with the reserved almonds.
Cover the cake with prepared brown paper and bake on lowest oven shelf for 5 hours. Turn off the heat and cool in the oven overnight.
This cake makes a lovely Christmas gift.