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Christmas Cake

Total calories 7120,
Preparation time 30 minutes,
Cooking time 3 1/2 hours,
Oven temperature 140°C, 275°F. gas 1

ingredients

makes 1 cake
225 g (8 oz) butter
225 g (8 oz) light soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon black treacle
5 eggs
250 g (9 oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
50 g (2 oz) ground almonds
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 orange
100 g (4 oz) almonds, chopped
75 g (3 oz) glace cherries, chopped
175 g (6 oz) raisins
250 g (9 oz) sultanas
350 g (12 oz) currants
100 g (4 oz) chopped mixed peel
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons orange juice

method

1. Line and grease a 23 cm (9 in) round cake tin or a 20-cm/8-in square cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Beat in the treacle, then the eggs, adding a little of the flour after the first one. Mix the remaining flour with all the dry ingredients.

3. Fold into the creamed mixture. Stir in the brandy and orange juice. Turn into the tin and level the top. Protect the outside of the tin with newspaper.

4. Bake in a cool oven for 3 1/2 hours or until a metal skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

5. Store wrapped in foil.

Cook's Tip
To keep cake for 3-4 months and to make it deliciously moist, prick top and bottom of cake with a skewer and spoon 2 tablespoons brandy over it every 2 - 3 weeks.

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