Gift Christmas cakes
- 3 cup (500g) sultanas
- 1/2 cup (100g) glacé cherries
- 1 1/2 cup (250g) raisins, chopped coarsely
- 1 1/2 cup (200g) pitted dried dates, chopped coarsely
- 125 gram (½ cup) glacé apricots, coarsely chopped
- 115 gram (½ cup) glacé pineapple, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (85g) orange marmalade
- 3/4 cup (180ml) orange-flavoured liqueur (or brandy or rum)
- 250 gram butter, softened
- 3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cup (300g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 1/2 cup (150g) walnuts, toasted, chopped coarsely
- 1/4 cup (60ml) orange-flavoured liqueur, extra
- 1/4 cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water
- 500 gram ready-made white icing
- cornflour, for dusting
- coloured cachous
- assorted ribbons, optional
Gift Christmas cakes
- 1Combine fruit, marmalade and liqueur in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and stand overnight, or for several days, stirring mixture occasionally.
- 2Preheat oven to 140°C /280°F. Line the base and sides of a deep 20cm (8-inch) square cake pan with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, bring paper 5cm (2 inches) above edges of pan.
- 3Beat butter and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. Add butter mixture to fruit mixture and stir well. Stir in sifted flour and spice, then walnuts, mix well.
- 4Spread mixture evenly into pan. Bake for 3 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Brush top of cake with extra liqueur. Place a piece of baking paper over top of the cake and cover hot cake tightly with foil. Turn cake, in pan, upside down (this will give the cake a level top). Cool overnight.
- 5To decorate: place sugar and the water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil, uncovered, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until syrup is thickened. Cool.
- 6Cut cooled cake into 4 squares. Brush top of cake with some of the cooled syrup.
- 7Knead icing on a surface dusted with a little cornflour until smooth. Roll out icing to a 6mm (¼-inch) thickness. Using a fluted pastry wheel (or knife), cut four 10cm (4-inch) squares (or cut large enough to cover tops of cakes). Lift icing squares onto cakes.
- 8Cut out stars from remaining icing. Brush stars with a little of the syrup, secure to top of cakes. Stand for several hours or overnight until firm. Brush cachous with a little sugar syrup using a fine brush and secure onto cakes. Decorate cakes with ribbon, if desired.
Start the recipe at least a day ahead, as the fruit mixture needs to stand overnight.
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