Christmas Cake for people who don't like Christmas Cake
This is the only Christmas cake worth making in my opinion. It's a million miles away from the dense, dark, dry cakes that are usually on offer at this time of year. Plus, there's no icing or marzipan which no one really likes anyway, do they?
There have been many converts to this cake, I have even scaled it up and made it as a wedding cake for a dear friend's big day. It's quick to prepare and easy to make so I hope you're convinced to give it a try.
I don't know why, but it's called 'Victorian Christmas Cake' and as you can see, is from one of my most treasured cookery books by Mary Berry.
225 g tinned pineapple in natural juice
350g ready-to-eat dried apricots
100g blanched almonds
Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
250g self-raising flour
250g caster sugar
250g softened butter
75g ground almonds
5 large eggs
Red or natural glacé cherries
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 paper.
Cut each cherry into quarters, rinse and drain well.
Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry both the cherries and pineapple very thoroughly on kitchen paper.
I pat them dry on an old tea towel which doesn't matter if it gets stained.
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.
Place 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 and halved glacé cherries.
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.
I usually cut this into quarters and freeze it, taking out a quarter at a time, otherwise it would all get eaten well before Christmas.