This square 20cm (8”) cake will make 24 - 36 small pieces
For the fruit:
1.25kg dried fruit (use a mix of currants, sultanas, raisins, soft dried apricots, finely sliced, candied peel and place
cherries, rinsed and dried)
100g whole blanched almonds, thinly sliced
The zest of 1 lemon, grated finely
150ml brandy plus more for ‘feeding’
For the cake:
300g butter, soft
300g light brown soft sugar
300g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
Icing and decoration:
3 tbsp apricot jam, boiled, cooled and strained
750g marzipan or more if you like a thicker layer
3 egg whites
A tsp lemon juice
700g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp liquid glycerine (to keep the icing soft)
Recommended AGA Cookware:
AGA 20cm/8” square cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper.
First put all the fruit and nuts in a bowl with the lemon zest and mix in the brandy. Set aside in a cool place overnight
or for a few days.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale, beat in the eggs one by one, then fold in the flour, spices and milk
with a pinch of salt. Fold in the fruit and nuts. Spoon into the prepared tin and make a shallow indent in the top of
the cake. With a damp hand, smooth the top of the cake.
This will help to give a flat smooth top to the cake when it rises a little during cooking.
Bake in the AGA simmering oven for 9 - 12 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. The cake will be browned on the
top and shrunk back from the sides of the tin.
Cool in the tin then store for a few days or better several weeks or months to allow the cake to mature. Feed the
cake every few weeks by inserting a skewer several times on the top and pouring over a tbsp or two of brandy,
whisky or rum. Keep the cake wrapped in baking paper and foil.
Warm the apricot jam on the back of the AGA, brush the top and sides of the cake with the warmed jam. Roll out
the marzipan to fit the cake and smooth over the top and sides.
Whisk the egg whites until foaming but not thick and white. Beat in the icing sugar, lemon juice and glycerine
until the icing is smooth and thick and will stand up in little peaks. Add more icing sugar or lemon juice to give a thick
butter spreadable consistency.
Spread the icing over the cake and allow it to form into rough peaks for a rustic look. Add some pine cones, slices
of dried orange, cinnamon sticks and some upside down rosemary sprigs for ‘christmas trees’.
Allow to dry out for 24 hours before cutting.