Fresh orange fruit cake
An interesting, fresher-flavoured alternative to the usual rich fruit cake, this can be decoratedwithglacéorangeslices(available from Country Choice) or whole glacé fruit. Makes an 8in (20cm) cake, serving 10-12.
You will need
250g/8oz golden sultanas
115g/4oz mixed peel, preferably freshly chopped
250g/8oz pale muscovado sugar
250g/8oz plain flour
½ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground mace
1 tsp ground coriander
50g/2oz ground almonds
4 large eggs
2 tbsps fresh
1 tbsp Cointreau
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
The day before you make the cake, rinse all the fruits thoroughly. Drain and put into a bowl, cover and set aside until required. There is no need to dry the fruit if thoroughly drained; it will absorb the moisture and give a better texture to the cake.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and spices and stir in the ground almonds. Whisk the eggs and add to the butter and sugar, alternately with the flour mixture, using a wooden spoon to blend thoroughly between additions.
Continue stirring while adding the orange juice and Cointreau. Finally, add the prepared fruits together with the freshly grated orange rind, stirring until the cake mixture is thoroughly combined. Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm/8in round cake tin.
Tie two layers of brown paper around the outside of the tin. Finally, cover the top of the cake tin with a piece of brown paper then place the cake in the centre of a preheated oven — 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 — for one hour, before turning the oven down to 140°C/ 275°F/Gas Mark 1 for a further two to two-and-a-half hours.
Remove the brown paper from the cake for the last hour of baking, but keep an eye on it to prevent overbrowning. The cake will be cooked when it feels firm and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place it, still in the tin, on a wire cooling rack.
Cover with a clean cloth and leave until cold before carefully turning out. It can then be decorated as wished, preferably with sumptuous glacé fruits.