Victorian Christmas Cake

Unlike traditional Christmas cakes, this mixture produces a light, yet succulent cake.

350 g (12 oz) red or natural glacé cherries

225 g (8 oz) can pineapple in natural juice

350 g (12 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots

100 g (4 oz) blanched almonds

finely grated rind of 2 lemons

350 g (12 oz) sultanas

250 g (9 oz) self-raising flour

250 g (9 oz) caster sugar

250 g (9 oz) softened butter

75 g (3 oz) ground almonds

5 large eggs

TO DECORATE

blanched almonds

red or natural glacé cherries

glacé pineapple (available from health-food shops)

100 g (4 oz) sifted icing sugar

1 Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3. Grease a 23 cm (9 in) deep round cake tin then line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.

2 Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water then drain well. Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry the pineapple and cherries very thoroughly on kitchen paper. Snip the apricots into pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Place the prepared fruit and nuts in a bowl with the grated lemon rind and sultanas and gently mix together.

3 Measure the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for 1 minute until smooth. Lightly fold in the fruit and nuts then turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and decorate the top with blanched whole almonds, halved glacé cherries and pieces of glacé pineapple.

4 Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 2¼ hours or until golden brown. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Cover the cake loosely with foil after 1 hour to prevent the top becoming too dark. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Mix the icing sugar with a little water, and drizzle over the cake to glaze.

Read More: How to Prepare a Classic Rich Christmas Cake

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