Quick Christmas Fruit Cake

"Whip this up just in time for Christmas day!"

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Cost Cutting Eco Friendly

  • 1kg Waitrose vine fruit mix
  • 125g Waitrose Love Life soft aged prunes, chopped
  • 125g Waitrose Love Life soft apricots, chopped
  • 100g pack Waitrose dried cranberries
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 250g tin Clement Faugier chestnut vanilla spread
  • 125ml Gabriel Boudier cherry brandy, reserving 1 tbsp for the top
  • finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • grated zest and juice of 3 clementines
  • 3 essential Waitrose free-range eggs, beaten
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
For the icing
  • 4 tbsp Waitrose morello cherry preserve
  • 2 x 500g packs Waitrose Cooks’
  • Homebaking marzipan
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 2 x 500g packs Waitrose Cooks’ Homebaking white fondant icing
  • vegetarian silver balls (optional)
  • wide ribbon, for decorating (optional)
  • 1

    Place all the fruits, butter, sugar, chestnut spread, brandy, lemon zest, clementine zest and juice into a large pan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter melts. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for at least 35 minutes.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, grease the sides of a square 20cm deep-sided cake tin and line with non-stick baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the tin in a triple layer of brown parcel paper and secure with string. This will ensure the cake cooks slowly and evenly and stops the sides burning and colouring too quickly.

  • 3

    Preheat the oven to 150C/ 300F/Gas 2.

  • 4

    Tip the cooled, soaked fruit into a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in the beaten eggs, sieve in the flour, baking powder and spices and mix really well, until thoroughly combined.

  • 5

    Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for one hour, or until the top of the cake is a little cracked and dry to touch. A skewer inserted into the cake will still come out a little sticky, but the cake will be ready.

  • 6

    Discard the brown paper from around the tin, to allow the cake to cool more quickly. Spike the top with a cocktail stick and drizzle over the remaining cherry brandy.

  • 7

    When the cake has cooled completely, remove from the tin and place on a board. To ice the cake, gently warm the jam in a small pan with one tablespoon of water until melted. Sieve into a small bowl and, using a pastry brush, sweep the cake with the warm jam.

  • 8

    Knead the marzipan until softened, then roll out thinly, on an icing sugar-dusted surface, to make a 40cm round. Drape it over the cake, pressing down to cover. Trim off any excess around the base, then repeat using the fondant icing (there is no need to use jam this time).

  • 9

    Using star-shaped cutters, cut out a selection of stars with the remaining icing. Press silver balls into the middle of some of the stars, and tie a ribbon around the middle, if you wish

Quick Christmas Fruit Cake was taken from 72 of COOK VEGETARIAN

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