White Christmas Cake

Ingredients

285g plain flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp of baking powder

½ tsp ground all spice

225g unsalted butter, softened

225g caster sugar

5 large eggs

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

½ tsp natural vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract

2 tbsp brandy

225g chopped walnuts

110g chopped pecan nuts

225g glacé pineapple

225g glacé cherries

225g chopped mixed peel

110g chopped candied angelica

To Finish

2 tbsp apricot jam

500g marzipan

110g unsalted butter, softened

450g icing sugar

5tbsp brandy


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White Christmas Cake

Makes at least 18 slices
Prep 1 hour
Bake 2 ¼ - 2¾ hours

This is my mother-in-law's recipe and it makes an excellent alternative to a classic, dark Christmas cake. It is still rich and fruity, but a little lighter and given a lift with plenty of citrus zest as well as a hint of vanilla and almond. It's also jam-packed with nuts. The butter icing is a simple, quick alternative to a traditional royal icing. Give it your personal, artistic finish - I dig out the traditional festive cake decorations that we use every year and leave this to my son.


1. Heat your oven to 150°C. Line the base and sides of a 23cm round deep cake tin with a double thickness of baking parchment, cutting it so that it stands a good 5cm proud of the top of the tin.

2. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and allspice together into a bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for several minutes until smooth and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the flour mix with each to prevent the mixture curdling. Beat in the orange and lemon zest, vanilla extract, almond extract and brandy.

4. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the remaining flour mix, the nuts, glacé fruit, peel and angelica, until thoroughly combined. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface.

5. Bake for 2 ¼ – 2¾, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. When your cake is completely cold, warm the apricot jam with a splash of water, sieve and then brush it all over the cake.

7. Roll out 300g of the marzipan to a large circle, about 4mm thick. Using the cake tin as a guide, cut a round of marzipan to fit the top of the cake and position it. Roll out the other 200g marzipan with the trimmings and cut 2 long strips to fit around the side of the cake. Position these, then smooth the marzipan and mould the edges together.

8. To make the icing, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in half of the icing sugar and stir in the brandy. Beat in the rest of the icing sugar until smooth. Spread the icing evenly over the cake.


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Victoria Sponge

This is a delicious British tea time classic. I like to add whipped cream to the filling to make it really special.

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