The big day always creeps up on me, which is why I love this cake.
It’s quick to whip up on the spot or make in advance!
- 500g sultanas
- 100g each raisins, dried cranberries and apricots
- 100g crystallised ginger
- 100g mixed peel
- ½ cup fragrant tea (Earl Grey, lemon infusion, etc)
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 200g butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- ¼ cup brandy
- Store-bought royal icing
- Jar of jam, any flavour
- Assorted roasted nuts and glace cherries, for garnish
1 Combine the fruits, ginger and peel in a large bowl and mix with the hot tea and zest. Leave to infuse for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible.
2 When ready to make, preheat the oven to 150ºC. Line the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
3 Cream the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each. Combine the creamed mixture and soaked fruit, then sift over flours, soda, spice and brandy. Mix together well.
4 Spoon into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes until golden and a skewer, when poked into the centre, comes out clean.
5 To decorate: Roll out icing to a thickness of 2-3mm. Cut a circle 2.5cm bigger than the cake (use a plate as a guide). Brush the top of the cake with jam and lay icing over evenly. Make scalloped edges using pinking shears or simply trim excess with scissors. Use cookie cutters to make shapes out of the excess, such as trees. Leave to set and harden. Stick the shapes onto an ice-block stick with a little melted chocolate. Decorate with nuts and cherries if desired.
About Jo Wilcox
"I have had a love of food my whole life. Lucky for me my mum allowed me to play in the kitchen from the very beginning – from sitting up on the bench watch her peeling peaches for preserving or planning dinner parties from her many Womans Weekly Cookbooks. Starting in my local beach café, I went onto professional cookery training and my big foodie OE working as a professional chef and nanny. At 21 I launched my first restaurant. The following years saw me owning a gourmet cake and dessert shop and then a pasta deli before I discovered the world of food styling. Today I work in food styling making food look beautiful and tasty in packaging and advertising shoots, as well as my most important role yet – Food Editor of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. I aim to provide great meal solutions that are interesting and approachable, and of course gorgeous foodie photos that make you want to cook them! I love the feedback and the knowledge that people actually cook them and have great results. If I can give someone a love of cooking and enjoying family meal times and gatherings then my job is done!" See www.jowilcox.co.nzmore of this author