Here's a quick, easy Christmas cake which the kids can help make. The addition of pineapple and ginger makes it moist and tasty and the almonds, laid out in decorative pattern over the top, set it off.
If fresh limes are around, I like to add the zest of a couple to the mixture to give it a bit of a zing. Whole pecans can be substituted for the almonds and you can add a handful of chopped pecans to the mix.
If you'd like to make 2 smaller cakes to give away as edible gifts, use 2 x 15.5cm cake tins and bake for approximately 1 hour.
- Prep Time : 20-25 minutes
- Cook Time : 1h 40 min
- Yield : 8 -10
- mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, halved glace cherries, cranberries) - 400g
- glace ginger (or use uncrystallised ginger) - 100g, roughly chopped
- dark brown sugar - 1 cup
- unsalted butter - 150g, roughly chopped
- crushed pineapple - 450g tin (with juice)
- free range or organic eggs - 2 x 60g
- plain flour - 1 cup
- self-raising flour - 1 1/4 cups
- mixed spice - 1 teaspoon
- cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- ground cloves and ground nutmeg - a pinch each
- bi-carbonate of soda - 1/4 teaspoon
- blanched almonds (or whole pecans)
- brandy (or dark rum) - 2-3 tablespoons
- warm apricot jam - 1/2 cup
Preheat oven to moderate (180C/160Cfan-forced). Line the base and sides of a 20cm round or square cake tin with baking paper.
Place the dried fruit, ginger, sugar, butter and crushed pineapple in a medium-large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until butter has melted. Simmer gently for 5 -10 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and stir them through the cooled mixture.
Sift together the flours, spices and bi-carbonate of soda then fold through the fruit mixture.
Spoon into the prepared tin. Smooth top and stud with whole blanched almonds in decorative pattern starting from the centre and working out.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 -1 3/4 hours or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and brush top of cake with glaze.
For the glaze, heat together the brandy and apricot jam. Pass through a sieve then brush over top of cake. If you use a skewer to make a few holes between the nuts, it will seep through easily while the cake is still warm.
Tip: for a richer cake, pour a little warm dark rum or brandy over the cake when it comes out of the oven - use a skewer to make a few holes between the nuts so it seeps through easily.