Saturday 13 December 2014

Light Christmas Fruit Cake

Having been 'commissioned'  by my sixth form headteacher to make something for the annual elderly friends Christmas party held at my school, it seemed only appropriate to bake something not too big which 'elders' would appreciate as a present. (Sorry if I've offended anyone who doesn't class them-self as an 'elderly person' because in fact I like fruit cake too! I suppose it's just a stereotype.)
 I have made this fruit cake without alcohol, but it still has all the traditional elements of a Christmas cake without all the heaviness, which most of us will agree is always better don't you think?

The decoration is simply a covering of white fondant...not a smidge of marzipan in sight because I don't like it! (BUT in hindsight I think the 'elderly' would have liked it. Oh well.) Alternatively- if you prefer you could coat the cake in a layer of it first. Then to top it all off, a classy finish with some holly and berries. Tint the icing whatever colour you like but I think the cake looks more sophisticated with a simple colour scheme of white, green and red. 

This recipe makes a 6 inch cake because it would work great to give as a little present with some ribbon wrapped round the base as you can see...

I've also made our lives a whole lot easier by making this fruit cake with the all in one method. You could go the whole hog by even buying your dried fruits (raisins, sultanas candied peel) already pre-mixed in a bag, if so you'll need 80g altogether. 

Ingredients (makes a 6 inch cake): 

Fruit Cake:
130g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
110g plain flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder 
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
a pinch of grated nutmeg
½ tsp almond extract
grated zest and juice of ½ orange
40g raisins
20g sultanas
20g candied peel, finely chopped
40g glacé cherries, chopped

4 tbsp apricot jam
400g white ready-to-roll fondant icing 
red and green fondant paste to make into holly and berries
icing sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 170°C/ gas mark 3/ 325°F. Grease and line the base of a 6 inch deep loose bottomed cake tin. To make the fruit cake, put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, spices, almond extract, orange zest and juice in a large mixing bowl and beat all together until smooth. Then add the raisins, sultanas, candied peel and cherries and stir. 

Pour the cake batter into you prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes, after this time quickly place some tin foil over the top so that it will prevent the sides from burning before it's cooked in the middle. Continue to cook for a further 12-15 minutes, until when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. 

To decorate, heat up the apricot jam in a small bowl until bubbling and then quickly brush all over the top and sides of the cake, this will help the icing to stick. On a work surface dust with icing sugar and then roll out your fondant to the same size as your cake. Lift the icing onto the cake and smooth over including the sides, use a knife to cut around the edge neatly. Finish with a decoration of holly and berries molded from red and green fondant icing, stick in the middle with a tiny dab of water.


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