This is the second time I have made Belinda Jeffery’s last minute Christmas cake, for the simple fact that I can’t stand mixed peel, glacé green or red cherries so if I make my own cake, I can put whatever I like in it!
It is a rich, dark fruit cake which won’t last for long! You will need to allow a whole day to make the cake, or an evening to do the fruit and the next morning to bake the cake.
You will need:
~ 300g butter
~ 420g raw sugar
~ 900g dried fruit – a mix of raisins (380g), prunes (90g), sultanas (130g), dried currants (120g), dates (90g) and dried apricots chopped (90g)
~ 2 tsp baking soda
~ 1/2 cup dark rum (I used Inner Circle)
~ 1.5 cups cold water
~ 2 tsp grated nutmeg
~ 2 tsp ground cinnamon
~ 4 eggs, lightly beaten
~ 2.5 cups plain flour (I used Orgran wheat free flour)
~ pecan halves and almond kernals (to decorate)
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat, add sugar and mix until the mixture is slushy.
Add in all the dried fruit, baking soda, rum and water – increase heat to high and keep stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Bring mixture to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 4 minutes (be careful as it may get frothy and bubble over)
Leave to cool completely (either during the day or cover and leave overnight)
Preheat oven to 150C
Butter a 23cm springform tin and line the base and sides with 2 layers of baking paper
Add the nutmeg, cinnamon and eggs to the cooled fruit mixture and stir in well.
Mix in the flour and leave to sit for a few minutes before pouring into the tin.
Decorate the top with the nuts, in any formation that you like.
Bake for 2.25 – 2.5 hours – check after an hour or 30 mins and if the top is browning a bit much, cover it with some tin foil
The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean from the middle
Leave to cool and wrap tightly in foil to store.