My mother requested something a little different when it came to Christmas Cake this year. The traditional black, rich cake is yummy, but I agree that it divides people into lovers, tolerators and haters. Haters won’t touch it, tolerators will have a sliver begrudgingly, and lovers will eat half the cake themselves, before leaving it to moulder on the side til easter.I get the feeling that my mother is in the middle category at best.
So, to honour her wishes, and because I like a challenge, and because I kept forgetting to make my Nanny’s Christmas Cake, I gave a blonde fruitcake a go. I based my recipe on Nigella’s Golden Fruit Cake very closely. The only changes I have made are because I wanted a flour based cake, and due to fruit and spice preferences.
Please note that though I have used dried pears in my recipe, you can substitute dried apples, which are MUCH easier to get hold of. Of course, you can dry your own, as I did.
Golden Christmas Cake
- 850g dried fruit (apricots, pears and sultanas. I used about 250g sultanas, 150g pears and the rest apricots)
- 100g glacé cherries
- 175gsoft butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 125ml Malibu
- A glug of brandy
- 200 grams ginger jam
- 225g self raising flour
- 35g ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, or 3 pods worth
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3 large free range eggs
- approx. 75g whole blanched almonds
- 2-3 generous tablespoons apricot jam
- Gold sugar balls and confectioners glitter to garnish
First, prep the fruit. Roughly chop the pears and apricots. Cut the cherries in half.
Put all the fruit, the butter, the rum, jam and sugar in a pan and bring up to a simmer, mixing until all the butter is melted. Simmer for 10 minutes, the add the brandy. Stir through, then turn off the heat and set the mixture aside to cool.
Double line a 9 inch pan and preheat the oven to 160 c.
In a bowl measure out your dry ingredients and mix them together. Mix them into the fruit mix, then beat in the eggs.
Spoon the gloriously bejewelled mix into your lined tin and even out. Decorate the top with the almonds as you please.
Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes at 150 c. Check at 1hr 20 minutes. To finish the cake off, turn up the heat to 170 c for 20 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden and an inserted blade or skewer comes out clean.
Cool completely in the tin- this will take some time as the cake is so dense and large. However, you can glaze it when it is halfway cool. Melt the jam in a milk pan and spread evenly over the top of the cake to give it a jewel like shine. If you like, you can now sprinkle over golden sugar sprinkles and confectioners glitter, for an extra touch of seasonal sparkle.
Moist, richly fruity without the smoke of traditional cake; this is an excellent last minute wonder. It also avoids me having to marzipan and ice anything, and then being ‘made’ to eat everyone else’s icing and marzipan, as my family lack my sweet tooth to a degree.