Ingredients and Method
- 225g Plain Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
- 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 200g Butter
- 200g Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp Black Treacle
- 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
- 4 Eggs, lightly beaten
- 800g Dried Mixed Fruit
- 300g Sultanas
- 200g Raisins
- 300g Currents
- 100g Mixed Peel, chopped
- 150g Glacé Cherries, halved
- 100g Blanched Almonds, chopped
- 300ml Brandy or Sherry
- For the topping:
- 400g Marzipan
- 1-2 tbsp Apricot Jam, warmed
- For the royal icing:
- 3 Egg Whites
- 600g Icing Sugar, sieved
- 1 1/2 tsp Liquid Glycerine
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Place all the dried fruit, mixed peel and cherries in a mixing bowl. Pour over either 150ml of sherry, brandy or cold tea. Cover and leave overnight.
- Heat the oven to 140c. Grease a 20cm/8 inch round cake tin and line with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add the treacle and vanilla essence to the butter and sugar mixture and continue to mix until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the eggs to the mixture, ensuring it is completely combined before adding more. If the mixture begins to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour.
- Fold in the flour, salt and spices and mix until well combined.
- Add the dried fruit, mixed peel, cherries and almonds to the mixture and combine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and make a slight hollow in the centre.
- Bake in the oven for 4 hours and test with a skewer. If it is not baked, place back in the oven and check every 10 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
- Turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool.
- Once cooled, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tbsp. of brandy. Allow the brandy to soak into the cake.
- Wrap the cake in parchment paper and foil and place in an airtight container. You can continue feeding the cake (adding more brandy) every week until you are ready to ice and decorate your cake.
- To decorate, place the cake on a board or cake plate. Knead the marzipan until soft.
- Roll out the marzipan and leave to one side. Brush the cake all over with apricot jam and place the marzipan around the cake.
- Cover and leave the cake for at least one day.
- To make the icing, whisk the egg whites until they begin to become light and fluffy. Then, slowly add the icing sugar at intervals until the icing makes soft peaks. Add the lemon juice and glycerine if required.
- Spread the icing all over the cake using a spatula. Decorate with Christmas ornaments.