8oz / 250g currants
8oz / 250g raisins
8oz / 250g sultanas (or golden raisins)
8oz / 250g dates, chopped
4oz / 125g dried cranberry pieces (or dried apricots)
4oz / 125g red glace cherries
4oz / 125g blanched almonds
4oz/ 125g mixed (candied) orange and lemon peel
1 cup (plus more) brandy or whisky
5 eggs, room temp.
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
8oz / 250g butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all purpose / plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
2 1/2 tspn mixed spice
2 packages of marzipan / almond paste
1 package of royal icing / fondant (white)
you will need:
hemingway, the thirsty christmas cake
why hemingway? because this whopper of a fruit cake made his way through over half a bottle of my brandy and he's way too dense to get through in one sitting...
anyway, I'll put my hand up and tell you, I
L-O-V-E fruitcake. others moan when they see it, I've been known to crash weddings just for the cake...
the marzipan and royal icing are optional, the fruit and booze are non-negotiable!
do the math; there's 3 pounds of fruit in this cake!
never made one? try it...it takes 5 days, but little effort:
chop the dates, mix all of the fruit and almonds in a large mixing bowl. add the spice. mix well. pour the brandy over. cover with cling film. go have a nip of brandy to soothe your nerves.
stir the fruit, add a dash more bandy. go on; have a nip yourself
pre-heat the oven to 300f / 150c
beat: the butter and sugar, add the eggs, one by one. stir in the fruit and mix well. add the flours and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
line a 9 inch springform pan with 3 layers of baking parchment. (I line the bottom first, 3 circles of parchment, then the sides with parchment which has been tri-folded). the parchment should rise at least 2-3 inches above the rim of the pan.
pour the cake batter into the pan and place it in the centre of the oven. bake for 3 1/2 hours. remove from the oven (turn it off). sprinkle 2 capfuls of brandy on top. cover with foil and place it in the oven (door ajar) to cool overnight
time for the marzipan. you will need 2 packages.
remove the springform pan, sides and bottom and the parchment. place the cake onto a serving plate. does he look thirsty? maybe another capful or three of brandy will quench his thirst.
unpack one tube of marzipan and knead it into a flat disc. roll this out into a 10 inch (I roll it between 2 sheets of baking parchment with a dusting of confectioner's sugar). mix 2 capfuls of heated brandy with 2 tblpsns confectioner's sugar, brush the top of the cake with this syrup and then place the marzipan disc on top. press gently to smooth the paste onto the top.
roll out the second package of marzipan into a long oblong strip. this is to wrap around the sides of the cake so it needs to be quite long.
brush the sides of the cake with the brandy syrup and wrap the marzipan around the cake. press to seal the sides and the top.
allow to set overnight.
okay, I cheated. I bought fondant instead of making royal icing. kind of like reading halfway through 'a farewell to arms' and then renting the movie to find out how it ends, huh?
anyway. same deal. 2 sheets of baking parchment and a dusting of confectioner's sugar. knead the fondant with your hands until you can form it into a round disc. place it between the sheets of parchment and roll it out into a disc about 16-17 inches wide. brush the cake all over with more brandy syrup and then place the fondant over the marzipan. press gently with your hands to smooth it out.
ideally, you will let this fella sit overnight so that the fondant sets. have a nip of brandy whilst you're waiting!