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Traditional Christmas Cake

ingredients

serves: 24
375 g raisins
500 g sultanas (golden raisins)
175 g currants
250 g glace cherries, halved
75 g mixed peel
100 g pack pecan nut halves
1/3 cup (50 g) 2 oz pack whole blanched almonds
grated rind and juice of 1 large lemon or orange
5 tbsp brandy, sherry or port
3 1/4 cups (325 g) plain flour (All purpose)
15 ml spoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (50 g) 2 oz ground almonds
275 g soft dark muscovado sugar
275 g (10 oz) butter, softened
2 level x 15 ml spoons black treacle (molasses)
5 medium size eggs

method

1. Mix together the dried fruit, cherries, peel, nuts, lemon or orange rind and juice and alcohol in a mixing bowl, cover and leave to marinate overnight.

2. Grease and line a 20-23 cm round deep cake tin using a double thickness of greaseproof paper. Tie a double band of brown paper around the outside.

3. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) gas mark 1.

4. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl, add the ground almonds, sugar, butter, treacle and eggs. Mix well then beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and glossy. Fold in the fruit mixture until evenly blended.

5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a metal spoon, making a slight depression in the centre.

6. Place on the centre shelf in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 5 hours. Test the cake with a skewer to see if it is cooked 15 minutes before the end of the suggested time.

7. Leave the cake in the tin until cold. Turn out when cooled.

8. Decorate as required.

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