Whisky, fig and ginger Christmas cake
- November 2017
- Serves 14
- Hands-on time 55 min, oven time 3 hours 45 min, plus overnight soaking
“This cake is on the lighter side, but bursting with boozy soaked fruit (whisky is my preference). As with any rich fruitcake, it improves with age.” – Debbie Major.
- 27.3g (9.4g saturated)
- 54.6g (40.3g sugars)
- 250g currants
- 250g sultanas
- 100g ready-to-eat dried figs, cut to the same size as the sultanas
- 100g natural glacé cherries, halved
- 25g stem ginger from a jar, chopped
- 100g chopped mixed peel
- 125ml whisky, plus 3-4 tbsp for feeding
- Finely grated zest 1 large unwaxed lemon
- 130g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp each ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground allspice and freshly
- grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 50g ground almonds
- 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 125g dark muscovado sugar
- 4 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 50g whole blanched almonds, chopped
You’ll also need…
- Heavy-gauge, deep 20cm cake tin greased and lined with 2 layers of non-stick baking paper; newspaper for wrapping; string
- Mix the dried fruit, cherries, stem ginger, mixed peel, 125ml whisky and the lemon zest in a bowl. Cover and set aside to soak overnight. Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into another bowl and stir in the ground almonds. Cover and set aside overnight alongside the fruit.
- The next day, tie a thick, wide band of folded newspaper around the outside of the tin and secure it with string, then fold a newspaper into a rectangle and place it on a baking sheet (see tips, right). Heat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1 and set an oven rack towards the bottom of the oven.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer) until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Gradually add about half the beaten egg, beating well after each addition, then add a little at a time, adding 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture each time to prevent curdling, until all the egg has been added.
- Gently mix in the remaining flour mixture, followed by the soaked fruits and all their juices and the chopped almonds.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface, then make a slight indent in the centre.
- Tear off a double thickness of non-stick baking paper, large enough to cover the top of the tin generously, and cut a £2 coin-size hole in the centre. Put the cake tin on top of the newspaper on the baking sheet and cover with the baking paper. Bake for 3½-3¾ hours. As ovens vary, check the cake after 3 hours – it’s done when a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to cool in its tin. When cold, remove from the tin, sit the cake upside down on a wire rack, then peel off the baking paper. Prick the base here and there with a fine skewer, then brush with a tablespoon of the extra whisky. Leaving it bottom-side up, wrap tightly in non-stick baking paper, then in foil. Store in an airtight tin. Unwrap and brush with 1 tablespoon of whisky every 6-7 days until ready to eat or ice.
The cake is great on its own but if you want to marzipan and ice it, that will work well, too.
Make the cake at least 4 weeks (and up to 3 months) ahead. Take out of the baking tin and cover with non-stick baking paper, then foil. Store in an airtight tin in a cool, dark place.
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