A rare departure from sewing into baking. I am not a domestic goddess, apart from in my head, but I do like to bake. Every year I attempt to make a great Christmas cake, starting early and feeding with booze, and every year come Christmas eve when I break into it I am a little disappointed that it is too dry or just not right, so this year did a test run and adapted a recipe so much to the point where it was completely different from the original and I was so happy with the result. It is golden, sticky, fruity and moist. I add marzipan cubes to the mixture which for a marzipan lover like me is glorious but feel free to omit. It is not a bake ahead cake- I will mine in mid December for Christmas but like any rich fruit cake it will keep for a couple of weeks. I made a half recipe to test it and it came out fine with a smaller tin and reduced cooking time. I made mine dairy free with Pure Sunflower seed spread rather than butter or margarine but they will all work equally well.
200g Pure spread/butter/margarine
200g glace cherries halved
100g dried sour cherries
100g sweetened dried cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 orange
250g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g Self Raising Flour
100g ground almonds
1 tblspn mixed sweet spice
1. Cube marzipan into 1/2" chunks and place on tray in freezer.
2. Heat oven to 160c/140. Line 20cm cake tin with parchment paper extending the lining an inch above the tin. (I used the same size tin with half the quantities and it worked fine for me).
3 . Place all dried fuit in a pan with alcohol, orange juice and zest, bring to the boil and cook briefly until the liquid has evaporated.
4. In a large bowl, cream sugar and fat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla. Then almonds, flour and spice. Then add fruit mixture and finally the marzipan cubes from freezer and stir well. It is quite a wet mixture!
5. Spoon into tin and level out the top. Bake for 1hour 20 mins- depending on your oven. If your oven is fierce you can place a loose square of baking foil over the top of the tin to shield the top of the cake. Check with skewer or use hard spaghetti to test the centre. A half quantity mixture took 60 mins in my at 140c in my fan oven but it is a fast oven!
Hope it works for you x