Non-Traditional Christmas Cake - No Cherries

Total Time
3hrs 40mins
Prep 40 mins
Cook 3 hrs

This is a recipe from www.cuisine.co.nz which I have modified slightly. The 900g mixed dried fruit refers to anything but sultanas, raisins or currants. I used crystallised ginger, dried peaches, dried figs, glace mixed peel, dried papaya, dried dates and dried pineapple. You can use anything you like (for instance dried mango sounds nice but it was too expensive here). To prepare the tin I lined it with 4 sheets of newspaper, then 2 sheets of heavy brown paper, greasing the uppermost sheet. Some people also put damp newspaper around the outside of the tin & tie this with string to secure it, but I didn't have any string. Finally, if you do not want to use alcohol, orange juice is fine in place of the brandy. (Time does not include fruit marinating time).

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Combine sultanas, currants, and chopped dried fruit in the largest mixing bowl you have. Add the orange zest, juice, crushed pineapple (with juice) and brandy. Mix well.
  2. Cover and leave overnight to soak, stirring occasionally. (I left this for two days with no problems).
  3. Turn the oven onto 180 degrees C and toast the almonds until just brown. Remove from the oven, let cool, and add to the fruit mixture.
  4. Turn the oven down to 150 degrees Celsius.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine. The mixture might curdle but this isn't a problem.
  7. Stir through the vanilla and almond essences, then add to the fruit mixture with the ground almonds. Stir well to combine.
  8. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together. Mix through the fruit mixture. (My grandma told me that a light hand is necessary & not to overmix - otherwise the cake turns out tough & dry - who am I to argue with grandma?).
  9. Spoon into a prepared baking tin (mine measures 7in x 9in), then bake for 3 hours.
  10. If the top starts browning too quickly cover with baking paper.
  11. Remove from the oven after 3 hours and cool. Gently pierce the top of the cake with a skewer in 10-12 places, then trickle over 3T of the extra brandy.
  12. Wrap in tin foil and baking paper, and store in an airtight tin for 3-4 months. Feed regularly with brandy to keep the cake moist and flavourful.