Monday, March 18, 2013

Orlando Murrin's Deluxe Christmas Cake

4 tbsp bourbon
200g sultanas
100g glacé cherries , halved
100g/4oz semi-dried pineapple, roughly chopped
2 pieces of stem ginger , finely chopped
500g crystallised fruits (including colourful ones such as orange slices, pears, figs, pineapple) roughly chopped, plus extra whole fruits to decorate
100g walnuts , roughly chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g butter , at room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs , beaten
200g plain flour mixed with ½ tsp salt
1.   Preheat the oven to fan 130C/ conventional 150C/gas 2. Butter anddouble line a deep 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. Stir bourbon into the sultanas and let stand while you continue with the next step, stirring occasionally.
2.   Put the remaining fruits and the nuts into a big bowl with the lemon juice. In another very large bowl, cream the butter with the lemon zest and sugar. Add the eggs alternately with the flour in three or four batches, then stir in the sultanas plus any liquid, and all the fruit and nut mixture.
3.   Transfer to the tin and smooth the top, sloping it in towards the centre so it's 2cm below the level of the sides.
4.   Bake for about 2½ hours - it's done when a skewer comes out with no cake mixture sticking to it. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, turn out and let it cool fully.
5.   Wrap the cake tightly in cling film and foil. (It will keep in a cool spot for up to 2 months.) To add even more flavour and moistness, pierce the top with a skewer and pour over 2 tbsp bourbon every few weeks.

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