I love fruitcake when it’s done right. But I personally can’t stand buying nor consuming those scary looking glace cherries and other neon-colored candied fruits soaking in corn syrup that you get in supermarkets. I used dried fruits in this fruitcake with the only “candied” exceptions being the orange peel and the crystallized ginger. Do not skip the crystallized ginger– it transforms this cake from an ordinary fruitcake to a transcendent experience. Merry Christmas! There are two presents in this post — the recipe and my nutso husband impersonating Paul Hollywood.

Feeding the fruitcake

Christmas Fruitcake

Ingredients

  • 300 g dried dates chopped
  • 450 g sultanas golden raisins
  • 225 g dried apricots chopped
  • 142 g dried cherries chopped
  • 114 g candied orange peel chopped
  • 100 g crystallized ginger chopped, I used Beech's
  • 115 g sliced almonds toasted and chopped
  • 1 medium orange zest and juice
  • 70 ml brandy plus more for feeding
  • 225 g unsalted butter softened
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 280 g all purpose flour

Glaze

  • 2 tbsp apricot jam

Marzipan

  • 90 g granulated sugar
  • 140 g confectioner's sugar
  • 220 g almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 large egg beaten

Royal icing

  • 3 large egg whites 90 g
  • 750 g confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp glycerine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • Combine all the dried fruit and almonds in a large bowl. Add orange zest, juice, and brandy. Cover and leave at room temperature for several hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line the base and sides of an 8"x3" cake pan with 2 layers of parchment paper.
  • In a very large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a little flour each time. Stir in the fruit mixture. Sift in the remaining flour over the mixture and fold in with a large spoon. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and level the surface.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 3 hours then check with a long skewer to make sure it comes out clean. Let it cool before removing from the pan. Then let it cool completely, even overnight, before wrapping in parchment paper and then foil.
  • Feed it with brandy for at least two days or up to three months: use a skewer to poke several holes in the cake. Pour 1-2 tbsp over the top of the cake. Do this once a day if you only have a couple of days before serving the cake or every few days if you have longer. Wrap it back up in the parchment and foil afterward.
  • Heat the jam with one tbsp of water until liquid and brush the entire cake with it.
  • Dust your counter with a small amount of confectioner's sugar. Roll out 300 g of the marzipan into a large circle and use the cake pan to cut out an 8" circle. Lay this on top of the cake. Roll out the rest of the marzipan into two 3"x 13" strips and use these to cover the sides of the cake, trimming to fit. Press the edges of the marzipan pieces together to seal.
  • Frost the cake with the royal icing and decorate as desired. Leave to set until icing is firm.

Marzipan

  • Combine the sugars and almond flour in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the almond extract and egg with a fork until evenly combined.
  • Turn out onto a surface dusted with confectioner's sugar and knead until smooth. Cover in saran wrap and chill for 3 hours or overnight before using.

Royal icing

  • Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer until frothy. Add the icing sugar gradually. When all the icing sugar has been added, add the glycerine and lemon juice and continue beating until the icing is thick and holds peaks. You might need to add water, 1 tbsp at a time, to thin it out just enough to easily spread on the cake but the icing should still hold stiff peaks.

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