This is a delicious moist fruit cake adapted especially for Christmas with the addition of dried cranberries and brandy. It is iced traditionally and decorated with Christmas ornaments.
For the cake:200g sultanas 100g raisins 100g cranberries 200g glace cherries halved 50g chopped walnuts 50g mixed peel Zest of 1 orange Zest of 1 lemon 3 tbsp orange juice 2 tbsp brandy 125g butter or soft margarine 150g light soft brown sugar 3 medium eggs 250g self raising flour 1 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda
For the covering3 tbsp apricot jam, warmed and sieved 675g/1lb 8oz marzipan
For the royal icing3 free-range eggs, whites only 675g/1½lb icing sugar, sifted 3 tsp lemon juice 1½ tsp glycerine to stop the icing from hardening completely.
Method1. Grate the lemon and orange for the zest, put aside. Squeeze the orange for the juice and soak the fruit in the orange juice and brandy. 2. Prepare a cake tin by greasing and flouring it. 3. Sift flour with spice, cinnamon, grated nutmeg, baking powder and soda. 4. Cream the butter with sugar. 5. Beat in whole eggs, one at a time adding tablespoon of sifted dry ingredients with each egg. 6. Stir in dried fruit, nuts, cherries, candied peel and zest. 7. Fold in the sifted flour and spices. 8. Transfer to a prepared tin and smooth top with knife. 9. Bake in centre of oven Gas mark 4 for 1hr and 20 minutes covering with foil after 40 minutes. 10. Leave in tin for 15 min. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack.
Covering the CakePlace the cake on a cake dish or cake board. Thinly spread the warmed apricot jam over the whole surface of the cake. Shape the marzipan into a ball with your hands, then roll it out flat to a size that will cover the cake completely, top and sides. Lift the marzipan with the aid of a rolling pin, cover the cake and press the marzipan gently but firmly to the surface. Trim any side pieces.
Icing the Cake1. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they become frothy. Mix in the sifted icing sugar a tablespoonful at a time. You can do this with a hand-held electric whisk, but keep the speed low. 2. Stir in the lemon juice and glycerine and beat the icing until it is very stiff and white and stands up in peaks. 3. Place all the icing onto the top of the cake. Spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake with a palette knife. For a snow-peak effect, use a smaller palette knife to rough up the icing. 4. Leave the cake loosely covered overnight for the icing to harden a little, but place any ornaments onto the icing so that they make an impression. This is so that you can remove them before storing the cake, leaving you 'markers' to re-attach later. Wrap or store the cake in an airtight container in a cool place until needed.
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