I have to say I’m cheating a little here with my own rules as I haven’t ever cooked this on my own. In fact my participation has only ever advanced to weighing ingredients and helping fill cake tins. Christmas is my mum’s domain. She’s been doing it for years and she’s on a roll, my interference is not needed! However, I had to share this cake recipe with you as it really is a last minute cake. It doesn’t need to mature and if you’re forgotten to buy a cake and you’re totally desperate, well, start now!
Makes 1×8″ (20cm) cake
500g mixed dried fruits
125g dates, stoned and chopped (or apricots or prunes, big fruits are what you’re after.)
175g brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
90g glace cherries, chopped
60g chopped mixed nuts
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
– In a large pan melt the butter and then add the dried mixed fruits, dates (or other fruits), sugar, bicarbonate of soda, water, mixed spice and cinnamon.
– Bring this to the boil and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
– Leave the pan, covered, overnight.
– The next day put it in a mixing bowl, or use a machine like a kitchen aid or kenwood chef to do the hard work!
– Add the cherries, nuts and brandy. Mix a little.
– Add the flour and salt and mix in.
– Add the eggs and the baking powder and then mix thoroughly making sire everything is well combined.
– Line an 8″ cake tin with foil, shiny side down, and 2 layers of greaseproof paper.
– Brush lightly with oil.
– Tip in the cake mix and level out the top. Create a small dip in the middle with the back of a spoon to prevent doming.
– Place a small ovenproof dish or tin of water in the bottom of an oven heated to gas mark 2.
– Place the cake in the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 2 1/2 – 3 hours covering the top with foil after 1 hour.
– Test with a skewer to see if it’s done.
– Cool in the tin then turn out and pour on a little more brandy before either wrapping and storing or covering with marzipan and icing.
These simply could not be easier. I’ve been doing a lot with melted chocolate lately and after doing whatever I needed to with it I always had leftover chocolate. I always like these when I get them in Belgium so I thought why not make them myself? That way you can dictate what goes on the top too. The ‘recipe’, such as it is, goes as far as however much chocolate you have.
Makes however many you want.
melted chocolate (white, milk, dark, whatever you like)
dried fruit (I’ve used cranberries, raisins, sultanas and glace cherries.)
nuts (I like blanched almonds but walnuts, pecans or any other nut works well too.)
– Cover a chopping board or baking tray with baking paper.
– Pour a spoonful of melted chocolate onto the paper and swirl round a little with the back of the spoon to make a flat disc.
– Place your chosen fruit and nuts on the top.
– Leave to set. Done!