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Easter Cake #2

Total calories 8215,
Preparation time 30 minutes,
Cooking time 2 hours 50 minutes,
Oven temperature 160°C, 325°F gas 3

ingredients

makes 1 cake
175 g (6 oz) butter or margarine
175 g (6 oz) soft brown sugar
3 large eggs
225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
350 g (12 oz) sultanas
225 g (8 oz) raisins
100 g (4 oz) chopped mixed peel
50 g (2 oz) blanched almonds, chopped
4 - 5 tablespoons milk
3/4 guantity almond paste (see below)
2 tablespoons apricot jam, sieved
1 egg white

method

1. Line and grease a deep 20 cm (8 in) cake tin. Cream the butter or margarine and sugar until pale and soft. Gradually beat in the eggs adding a little of the flour. Fold in the remaining flour, spice, fruit, peel and nuts.

2. Stir in milk to make a soft consistency. Spread half in the tin.

3. Roll a third of the almond paste into a 20 cm (8 in) circle. Place on top of the mixture, top with the remaining mixture; hollow out the centre slightly.

4. Bake in a moderate oven 160°C, 325°F gas 3 for 2 hours, reduce to a cool oven 150°C, 300°F, gas 2 for a further 50-60 minutes. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack. Remove the paper.

5. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll half the remaining almond paste to fit the top of the cake.

6. Roll the remainder into balls. Press the paste on the cake, adding the balls as shown. Brush with egg white and brown under the grill.


Microwave Tip -
To make jam easier to brush on cake, heat in a small bowl in the microwave with 1 teaspoon water for a few seconds, then sieve.

For the almond paste
450 g (1 lb) ground almonds
225 g (8 oz) icing sugar
225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond essence
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons apricot jam, sieved

1. For the almond paste, mix the dry ingredients. Add the lemon juice, almond essence and enough egg to make a stiff, pliable dough. Knead briefly until smooth.

2. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out a third of the paste large enough to cover the cake top.

3. Lift it on top of the cake, trim the edges. Smooth the top and edges evenly with fingertips. Roll the remaining paste into a strip the width of the side of the cake and long enough to go round the cake.

4. Brush the sides of the cake with jam, then place the almond paste round the cake, smoothing on to the sides. Smooth all edges and joins. Leave for 1 - 2 weeks.

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