Xmas cakes with a difference

2016-11-23 06:01

THIS is world-famous TV star, Mary Berry’s recipe. She became famous as one of the stars of the Great British Bake Off.

Make this delectably moist and fruity cake as an alternative to traditional Christmas cake. It serves 12.

For the topping

• Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Grease a deep, 23cm/9in round cake tin with butter, then line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.

• In a bowl, gently mix together the cherries, pineapple, apricots, almonds, lemon zest and sultanas until well combined. Set aside.

• In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the beaten eggs a little at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour to prevent the mixture from curdling and pulsing after each

• Carefully fold the remaining flour and ground almonds into the cake mixture using a metal spoon, then gently fold in the
fruit and nut mixture until just combined.

• Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface using a palette knife.

• For the topping, decorate the cake with the blanched whole almonds, walnut halves, glacé cherry halves and orange peel.

• Bake the cake in the oven for 2-2¼ hours, or until golden-brown on top and cooked through. (The cake is cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.) Cover the cake loosely with tin foil after one hour to prevent the top from becoming too dark.

• Set the cake aside in its tin to cool for 30 minutes, then remove from the tin, peel the baking parchment away from the sides and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

• Meanwhile, heat the apricot jam in a small pan over a low heat, then strain through a fine sieve to remove any pieces of fruit. When the cake has cooled, brush the top all over with the warm apricot jam. Wrap a ribbon around the cake and tie with a bow, if desired, then serve.

Simmer ‘n stir cake

An easy-to-make alternative to traditional Christmas cakes, which requires no beating


175g chopped almonds

200g dark muscovado sugar

750g luxury mixed dried fruit (one that includes mixed peel and glacé cherries)

finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

100ml cherry brandy or brandy plus 4 tbsp more

85g macadamia nut

3 large egg

lightly beaten

85g ground almond

200g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground allspice


• Put the butter, sugar, fruit, zests, juice and 100ml brandy in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter has melted. Reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

• Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.

• Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150°C and line a 20cm round cake tin. Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them until evenly browned, or in the oven for 8-10 minutes - keep an eye on them as they burn
easily. When they are cool, chop

• Stir the eggs, nuts and ground almonds into the fruit mixture and mix well. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the pan. Stir in gently, until there are no traces of flour left.

• Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down evenly - you will find this is easiest with the back of a metal spoon which has been dipped into boiling

Bake for 45 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140C/ and cook for a further 1-1¼ hours the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken too much. To check the cake is done, insert a fine skewer into the centre - if it comes out clean, the cake is

• Make holes all over the warm cake with a fine skewer and spoon the extra 4 tbsp brandy over the holes until it has all soaked in. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

When it's cold, remove it from the tin, peel off the lining paper, then wrap first in baking parchment and then in foil.

• The cake will keep in a cupboard for up to three months or you can freeze it for six months.
- Mary Cadogan, BBC.

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