Love it or hate it, no Christmas is complete without a fruitcake of some kind. This is a rich, dense cake encompassing all the flavours of Christmas – including a healthy dose of brandy! Made all the more special by the bits of marzipan inserted here and there, like little treasures in every bite. The marzipan inside the cake means you don’t have to dress the cake in any more of it. You don’t even have to ice it – it’s entirely up to you. My advice in the case of the latter is that you then keep it well covered so it doesn’t dry out.
Here’s what goes in:
750g fruit mix
½ cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped cherries
½ cup of chopped pecan nuts
½ cup of brandy or spiced rum
Soak all of these ingredients in the brandy overnight, or for at least six hours.
250ml brown sugar
15ml apricot jam
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon ground clove
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Marzipan (to use just before baking)
½ cup of brandy or spiced rum, for soaking
How to do it:
Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease and line a deep round or square cake tin – I use a double layer of baking paper as the cake cooks for a long time. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it has a light, fluffy consistency. Add the eggs one by one and continue to blend until well combined. Now mix in the remaining ingredients (reserving the marzipan), followed by the soaked fruit and nuts.
Transfer the cake batter to the tin and then randomly insert lumps of marzipan into the cake,
imagining that you’d like to have a bit of marzipan in each slice. Bake the cake for about two hours. I’d recommend covering it with foil halfway through the cooking process, so that the top doesn’t brown too much.
Once done, allow the cake to cool in the tin. Pour half a cup of boiling water mixed with half a
cup of brandy (or spiced rum) over the cake. You can keep it in the tin until needed, provided that you keep it tightly sealed. If you plan to keep it for a couple of weeks before Christmas, top it up with a drizzle of brandy once a week.