Fruit soak (make it 5 weeks in advance)
55g caster sugar
160 brandy ( I used port)
80g chopped pitted prunes
80g chopped pitted dates
55g mixed peel
135g chopped dried figs
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
15g ground almonds
110g unsalted butter
100g soft brown sugar
2 tsp honey
2 tbl treacle
1 tsp honey
3 eggs lightly beaten
150ml brandy for feeding (Hubby chose Pimms)
1. To make the fruit soak, put the sugar and water in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to boil. Remove from heat when sugar has dissolved.
2. In an air tight container, add all the fruit, the sugar syrup and port. Mix well to coat. Keep at room temperature for 5 weeks, feeding it with the alcohol of your choice every 3-4 days.
3. To make the cake, preheat oven 160degC and grease 20cm round cake tin and line with baking paper.
4. Sift the flour, mixed spice and ground almonds together in a large bowl. In a mixer bowl, using the paddle attachment cream the butter, sugar, honey, treacle and marmalade until pale.
5. Add the eggs a little at a time, making sure it’s incorporated before adding more.
6. As soon as all the egg is combined, add 900g of the fruit soak and fold in.
7. Pour mixture into prepare tin and place on an oven tray and bake in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, turning the tin half way through. If the top starts to brown too much, cover with foil. Remove from oven and leave in the tin to cool.
8. Make about 20 – 30 holes in the cake with a skewer. I left my cake in the tin though the recipe says to place the cake on a layer of foil and baking paper and scrunching it up to the top of the cake to prevent leakage when feeding it. I just found it easier to leave it in the tin.
9. To feed the cake, brush over about 1 tsp ( or a capful) of your alcohol of choice. Repeat every 3 – 4 days for 8 – 10 weeks. Make sure the cake is well covered to stop evaporation, which will lead the cake to be dry. Keep the cake in an air tight container and keep in a cool dark place.
I think this will be the Christmas Cake I will make every year.