Monday, 9 December 2013

Whole Fruit & Nut Christmas Cake

This style of specialty festive cake has become very popular with good reason.  It looks special, tastes great and although the ingredients are relatively expensive the cakes are surprisingly economical because they can be sliced quite thinly to serve. 

It is quick to make and can be frozen. 

2 1/2 cups Brazil nuts
2 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 cup crystallised pineapple pieces
1 cup crystallised ginger pieces
2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups mixed peel
3 cups dried apricots
1 cup red glace cherries, plus 1/2 cup extra, reserved
1 cup dried figs, chopped roughly
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed **
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond essence
4 eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
3/4 cup marmalade

Preheat oven to 160 deg Celsius. 
Place nuts, fruits and dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Beat the eggs lightly with the essence, juice and the marmalade. Add the liquid ingredients to the mixture and mix together thoroughly.
Lightly spray the baking tins of your choice* and line the bottoms with baking paper.
Press the mixture firmly into the tins using the reserved glace cherries to decorate the tops of the cakes.

The cooking time will vary according to the size of your tins. Two 20 cm ring tins will take 1 1/2 - 2 hours to cook.  Three loaf tins will cook in 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  If you have smaller loaf or round tins they can also be used to produce attractive shapes.

* Adjust approximate cooking times accordingly.

** Cardamom seeds, not whole pods - these seeds are strongly aromatic and enhance the flavour of the dried fruits and nuts.