Try Mary Berry’s traditional Victorian Christmas cake recipe for a rich but light cake – this cake is bejewelled with cherries and almonds. The queen of cakes, shows you how easy it is to knock up a light and traditional Christmas cake, packed with luxury dried fruit and nuts. This classic Victorian cake takes 15 mins to prepare and 2hrs and 15 mins to bake. It’s well worth the wait and can be made in advance too. You can whip this cake anytime of year really – it’s not just for Christmas you know! It’s a mouth-watering, dense fruit cake packed with plenty of flavour.
- 350g (12 oz) red or natural glacé cherries
- 225 g (8 oz) can of pineapple in natural juice
- 350 g (12 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots
- 100 g (4 oz) blanched almonds (skins removed)
- Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
- 350 g (12 oz) sultanas
- 250 g (9 oz) self-raising flour
- 250 g (9 oz) caster sugar
- 250 g (9 oz) softened butter
- 75 g (3 oz) ground almonds
- 5 large eggs
- To decorate:
- Blanched almonds
- Red or natural glacé cherries
- Glacé pineapple (available from health-food shops)
- 100 g (4 oz) sifted icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C fan/140°C/gas mark 3. Grease a 23 cm (9 in) deep round cake tin then line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.
Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water then drain well. Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry the pineapple and cherries very thoroughly on kitchen paper. Snip the apricots into pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Place the prepared fruit and nuts in a bowl with the grated lemon rind and sultanas and gently mix together.
Measure the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for 1 min until smooth. Lightly fold in the fruit and nuts then turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and decorate the top with blanched whole almonds, halved glacé cherries and pieces of glacé pineapple.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 2¼ hours or until golden brown. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Cover the cake loosely with foil after 1 hour to prevent the top becoming too dark.
Leave to cool in the tin for 30 mins then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Mix the icing sugar with a little water, and drizzle over the cake to glaze.
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You can also use a little apricot jam to brush over the fruit cake to glaze if you wish