Catherine Fulvio's Hot Port Christmas Cake
We love our hot port here at Ballyknocken Cookery School, and while you may have intended to enjoy yours as a nightcap, toasting your toes by a log fire, here is another suggestion – for a rich, moist fruit cake.
YOU WILL NEED
For the hot port infusion 550ml port
3 tbsps brown sugar
2 thin slices of lemon
5 whole cloves
250g dried figs, chopped
100g mixed peel
100g red glacé cherries, roughly chopped For the cake 20cm square cake tin
200g soft brown sugar
250g self-raising flour
Large pinch of ground cloves
1½ tsps ground cinnamon
1½ tsps mixed spice
Bring the port, sugar, lemon slices and cloves to the boil. Remove from the heat. Leave to infuse for 20 minutes, then remove the lemon and cloves.
Add the sultanas, raisins, currants, figs, mixed peel and glacé cherries. Leave to infuse for one day.
To make the cake, heat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Line the cake tin with buttered baking parchment. Wrap a further two layers of baking parchment around the outside of the tin and secure with twine.
Soften the butter and beat with the sugar until creamy. Beat the eggs and add one at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle, add in a tablespoon of the flour.
Strain the fruit from the hot port mixture, discarding the liquid. Fold the fruit and the remainder of the dry ingredients into the cake mixture.
Put the mixture into the prepared cake tin, levelling the surface, then place in the oven.
After 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 150°C/Gas Mark 2 and continue to bake for a further one-and-a-half to one-and-three-quarters of an hour.
To check it's done, insert a skewer, which should come out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin, then wrap in more parchment paper until ready to decorate.