Easy-peasy Fruitcake

Method

Try this lighter version of a classic Christmas fruitcake, bursting with festive spice and juicy fruit. Let the kids decorate with candied fruit and glacé cherries.

  • STEP 1

    Put the rum (or brandy), orange zest and juice and mixed dried fruit in a bowl and stir. Leave to soak overnight.

  • STEP 2

    Heat oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½. Double line a 20cm tin with baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one by one, then fold in the almonds and flour. Add a pinch of salt and fold in the soaked fruit mixture (and any remaining liquid in the bowl), along with the nuts, candied peel and ginger. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface.

  • STEP 3

    Bake for 1 hr, then turn the oven down to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2 and bake for a further 2 hrs. Check the cake to see if it's pulling away from the sides of the tin and feels firm on top. If you need to, keep cooking for a further 15 mins. Cool in the tin. If storing in the tin, wrap the cake tightly first. Will freeze for up to two months.

  • STEP 4

    To decorate, brush the cake with the apricot jam (or glaze) and arrange your choice of candied fruit on top. Will keep in a sealed container for up to three weeks.

Credit: Lulu Grimes

Ingredients

Prep time: 30 Minutes

Cook time: 3 Hours (+ Soaking)

Serves: 16

  • 4 tbsp rum or brandy

  • 1 orange , zested and juiced

  • 600g mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, apricots, cherries, cranberries)

  • 200g butter , very soft

  • 200g golden caster sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 50g ground almonds

  • 200g plain flour

  • 100g pecan nuts or whole skinned almonds, chopped

  • 100g candied peel , chopped

  • 75g crystallised or candied ginger , chopped

  • For decoration:

  • apricot jam (warmed and sieved) or apricot glaze

  • candied pineapple , candied angelica, glacé cherries (a mixture of red, green and yellow if you can find them), crystallised ginger