1233

serves 10 people - makes a 18cm (7 inch) round cake

ready in 80 minutes (plus fruit soaking time!)

ingredients

  • 300g sultanas
  • 300g raisins
  • 100g currants
  • 85ml rich cream sherry
  • 125g softened butter (or vegan alternative)
  • 125g Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup
  • 125g wholemeal flour or wholemeal spelt flour*
  • 1/4tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 medium free range eggs, beaten (or vegan alternative)

To decorate (optional)

  • 15ml brandy
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 5ml lemon juice
  • 2 drops per colour natural red & green food colouring

make

  1. Place the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the sherry, stir to coat all of the fruit and then cover and leave overnight.
  2. The following day, preheat the oven to 160C / 335F / gas mark 3.5 and line the base and sides of the cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. Also, make a collar out of several layers of brown paper and fasten around the outside of the tin with string or a paperclip.
  3. Cream the butter and Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup until pale and fluffy. Mix together the spices and flour and mix a spoonful into the mixture, followed by a little of the beaten egg. Continue adding flour and egg little by little until they have all been mixed in.
  4. Finally mix in the soaked fruit and then spoon into the prepared cake tin. Flatten the top with a knife or spoon and bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for about an hour then transfer to a cooling rack. When the cake is cold wrap in baking parchment and tin foil and leave in a cool place.
    The cake is best made several weeks in advance to allow it to mature.

To decorate

  1. Remove all the wrappings from the cake and brush the top with the brandy. Leave to soak in for a few minutes.
  2. Mix together the ground almonds, Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup, almond extract and lemon juice until it forms a soft dough. Knead into a ball. As you knead the almond paste the oil is released from the almonds which makes it easier to handle.
  3. Take 225g of the almond paste, place it between two sheets of baking parchment and roll out into a circle the same size as the top of the cake. Remove the top layer of parchment, slide your hand underneath the bottom layer and flip the almond paste over onto the top of the cake. Gently press it onto the top and tidy up the edges.
  4. Colour two thirds of the remaining almond paste with green colouring and the rest with red colouring. Roll the green in between two layers of baking parchment and cut out holly leaves. Roll small amounts of red almond paste into balls for the berries. Decorate the top of the cake with the holly leaves and berries. They should easily stick to the almond paste topping but if not, just lightly brush the top of the cake with a little water.

*Gluten Free Version
Replace the plain flour with 75g of rice flour and 50g of ground almonds.

The timing relates to 'hands on' time.

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