Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Classic Christmas cake

This is the classic fruitcake topped with ready-rolled icing, but bucks tradition with the added surprise of dark chocolate.


* canola oil spray, for greasing
* 175g reduced-fat spread
* 175g soft brown sugar
* 4 eggs
* 2 cups self-raising flour
* 1 lemon, rind
* 1 orange, rind
* 2 tablespoons ground almonds
* 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
* 2 1/2 cups mixed dried fruits such as currants, cranberries
* 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
* 3 tablespoons treacle
* 25g blanched almonds (optional)
* 3 tablespoons brandy (optional)
* 3 tablespoons reduced-sugar jam
* 1 1/2 cups sugared fresh fruits (see instructions)


Step 1 Lightly grease and line base of a 24cm-round or square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 160°C. Cream spread and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.

Step 2 Fold in flour, lemon and orange rind, almonds and mixed spice. Carefully fold in dried fruits and chocolate chips.

Step 3 Stir treacle through. Spoon into prepared tin and level surface. Add almonds (if using), arranging them on cake surface. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown and firm to touch.

Step 4 Allow cake to cool before removing from tin. Make small holes over surface of cake with a skewer, then drizzle brandy over (if using). Leave to cool. Serve as is, or cover with warmed jam, then ready-rolled icing. Top with sugared fresh fruits.


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