Whether you’re looking for an alcohol free version or just looking for something a bit different this year. Upgrade your classic Christmas fruit cake with our ginger beer soaked fruit mix. It adds an extra hint of spice with very little effort required. You will need to start soaking the fruit mix 3-7 days ahead to give it time to really absorb the flavour.
1.Combine dried fruit, jam, rinds and spices in a large bowl. Add ginger beer and rum; stir to combine.
2.Cover; stand at room temperature for 3 to 7 days, or longer if you like, stirring occasionally.
3.Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F. Line base and sides of a deep 25cm (10-inch) square cake pan with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, extending the papers 5cm (2 inches) over edges of the pan.
4.Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in sifted flour, almond meal and fruit mix. Spoon the mixture into pan; smooth surface.
5.Bake cake for 2 hours or until cooked when tested with a skewer. If cake begins to overbrown, cover loosely with baking paper or foil.
6.Brush top of hot cake with rum. Cover hot cake tightly with foil; wrap in a clean tea towel. Cool in pan overnight.
7.When cooled, turn cake out; leave lining paper intact. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
8.To decorate, remove lining paper. Place cake, upside-down on a board or serving plate. Warm the jam in microwave oven for 30 seconds on High (100%). Push jam through a small sieve into a bowl. Lightly brush top of cake with jam. Reserve 250g (8 ounces) of ready-made icing. Knead remaining icing together until smooth. Roll icing out on a smooth surface dusted well with sifted icing sugar into a 24cm (9½-inch) square, or large enough to fit the top of the cake. Lift icing; place on cake. Smooth icing by rubbing gently with a square of baking paper; trim edges. Knead remaining icing until smooth. Roll out until 3mm (⅛ inch) thick. Using a 3.5cm (1½-inch) star cutter, cut out about 36 stars. Place on a tray lined with baking paper. Allow to dry for several hours in a cool, dry place.
This basic fruit mix is enough to make a regular-sized fruit cake and a pudding (boiled or steamed) large enough to serve 12.
If the weather is humid, keep in an air-conditioned room, if possible. Attach stars to the top of cake with a little of the remaining jam. Scatter with cachous.