Recipe

Christmas gift cakes

  • 3 hrs preparation
  • Serves 4
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Ingredients

Christmas gift cakes
  • 3 cup (500g) sultanas
  • 1/2 cup (100g) glacé cherries
  • 1 1/2 cup (250g) raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup (200g) seeded dried dates, coarsely chopped
  • 125 gram glacé apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 125 gram glacé pineapple, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (85g) orange marmalade
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) grand marnier (or brandy or rum)
  • 250 gram butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cup (300g) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 cup (160g) walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) grand marnier, extra
To decorate
  • 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 500 gram packet white icing/fondant
  • icing sugar, for rolling
  • coloured cachous
  • assorted ribbon

Method

Christmas gift cakes
  • 1
    Combine the fruit, marmalade and liqueur in a large bowl; mix well. Cover and stand overnight or for several days, stirring occasionally.
  • 2
    Preheat the oven to 140°C (120°C fan-forced). Line the base and sides of a deep 20cm square cake pan with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above edges of pan.
  • 3
    Beat the butter and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. Add butter mixture to fruit mixture; mix well. Stir in sifted dry ingredients then walnuts; mix well.
  • 4
    Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake for about 3 hours or until cooked when tested. Brush top of cake with extra liqueur. Place a piece of baking paper over top of the cake; cover hot cake tightly with foil. Turn cake in pan upside down to cool; this will give the cake a level top.
To decorate
  • 5
    Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and stir over low heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil; boil, uncovered, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool.
  • 6
    Cut the cake into 4 squares. Brush top of the cake with some of the cooled syrup.
  • 7
    Knead icing until smooth on a surface dusted with sifted icing sugar. Roll out the icing until about 7mm thick. Using a fluted pastry wheel (or knife if preferred), cut four 10cm squares, or squares large enough to cover tops of cakes.
  • 8
    Lift icing squares onto cakes. Cut out stars from remaining icing. Brush the stars with a little of the syrup and arrange on icing. Stand for several hours or overnight until firm.
  • 9
    Brush the cachous with a little of the sugar syrup using a fine brush; place onto cakes. Decorate cakes with ribbon, if desired.

Notes

Un-iced cake suitable to freeze. Not suitable to microwave.