ing, as this is the simplest and quickest decoration for a Christmas cake, and finish with a ribbon and bow.
150 g (5 oz) softened butter
150 g (5 oz) light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour
400 g (14 oz) luxury mincemeat
175 g (6 oz) currants
50 g (2 oz) chopped almonds
25 cm (10 in) round silver cake board
675 g (1½ lb) almond paste or marzipan
1 quantity of royal icing
ribbon, to decorate
1 Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3. Grease a 20 cm (8 in) deep round cake tin then line the base and sides with baking parchment.
2 Measure all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for 1 minute until thoroughly mixed. Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.
3 Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1¾ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake is shrinking from the sides of the tin. Cover the cake with foil after 1 hour if beginning to brown too much. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
4 Cover the cake with almond paste about a week before icing. Make up the royal icing and spread some of the icing thickly over the sides of the cake, smoothing with a palette knife. Spoon more royal icing on to the top of the cake, smooth a strip in the centre (this is where the ribbon will go) then pull the remainder into peaks with the back of a spoon. Leave the icing to harden for a few hours, then decorate the cake with ribbon.
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