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This Christmas cake recipe is by far the best one I have ever made. It is rich, moist and jammed with zillion pieces of fruit at each bite. Do try to make this cake well in advance so that you can brush with rum repeatedly several times to allow the flavours to mingle and age.
First, you must assemble all your jewel-like ingredients. I used sultanas, raisins, dates, prunes, currants, mixed peels, glaced cherries, pineapple and ginger, walnuts and almonds. Fruitcakes are forgiving. You can almost always substitute a fruit you like for one you do not. It is important to have a balance of tastes and textures. I chop all the fruits and nuts into small pieces and soak them in rum in a big jar leaving enough space. Let them macerate for at least a week to mature.The longer they soak, the better the taste. I soak them a couple of months ahead of Christmas.
Sultanas 500gms
Raisins 250gms
Dates 250gms
Currants 125gms
Prunes 125gms
Mixed peels 125gms
Glacé cherries 125gms
Apricots 100gms
Glacé pineapple 50 gms
Glace ginger 50gms
Walnuts 100 gms
Slivered almonds 100 gms
Rum 1&1/2cup
Eggs 5
Brown sugar 200gms
Caramel syrup 1/2 cup
Butter 250gms
Flour 250gms
Baking powder 2tsp
Soda 1 tsp
Caramel colour 1 tsp
Mixed spices 2tsp
Vanilla 2tsp
Chop dates, peel, cherries, apricots, prunes, pineapple and walnuts the same size as sultanas. Combine in a large basin add 1 cup rum or brandy to soak and cover. Let stand for a week or more.
Line a deep 23cm round cake tin with three thickness of greaseproof paper, bring it 5cm above edges of tin.
Combine and sieve dry ingredients. Beat butter until soft, add sugar and beat again to combine well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add creamed mixture to the fruit mixture. Add colour and vanilla. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the rum.Spread evenly into the prepared tin. Sprinkle some almonds. Bake for 30 minutes at 180c and then lower the heat to 150c and bake for 1hrs or until done. Cover tightly with aluminium foil and leave until cold. With a skewer poke holes in the top of the cake and brush with a little rum. Wrap the cake thoroughly in a muslin cloth or plastic wrap. This cake will keep for several weeks.

Fruitcake needs to age. After you have wrapped your cakes in muslin and set them aside, check them once a week, and douse them with a little rum or whatever liquor you used.

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