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340g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
125g ground almonds
125g blanched whole almonds
200g mixed peel
zest and juice of large lemon
340g butter (at room temperature)
280g soft dark brown sugar
8 large eggs
8 tbsp sherry (or brandy)
Butter and double line with brushed greaseproof paper, a 10 inch cake tin.
Sift all the dry ingredients – flour, salt, spices and ground almonds into a large bowl. Then mix in the fruit and whole almonds. Blend thoroughly.
Cream together in a separate bowl (or better yet a blender like we did) the sugar, butter and lemon zest until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, little by little.
Stir this into the flour and fruit mixture adding the lemon juice and booze. The mixture should be soft and moist.
Spoon into the cake tin and level the top (make an indentation in the centre to avoid a ‘domed’ cake).
Bake in the centre of an oven pre-heated to 150deg C for 1 1/2 hours. Reduce the heat to 130 deg C and cover with brown paper to prevent burning, then cook for a further 3-3 1/2 hours.
Wrap tightly in tin foil until 6 weeks before Christmas. Then unwrap and using a skewer, make deep holes over most of the cake. Pour a few tablespoons of sherry or brandy into these holes. Reseal and repeat each week until decorating the cake – which will be in Part 2!
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