This decadent cake, with its glossy icing and glistening fruit, would make a stunning centrepiece at any seasonal gathering.
I found this recipe in a Sainsburys magazine some years ago - I do wish I'd kept the mag, because the photo was lovely. This is a terrific cake - and as long as you bung in between 800 and 950g of fruit and nuts and stuff, it'll work fine. I know - I've tried it :)
DO AHEAD Make the cake 2 weeks ahead. Ice up to 2 days before serving.
225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
225g (8oz) caster sugar flavoured with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
125g (4.5oz) plain flour
2-4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or amaretto liqueur
1 x 75g pack each dried blueberries, cranberries and sour cherries
1 x 100g pack each ground almonds, walnut pieces, pistachios, chopped ready-to-eat exotic fruits, chopped whole candied peel, glace ginger, ready-to-eat apricots and sultanas
for the icing
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 tablespoon brandy
175g (60z) unrefined icing sugar
sieved glace fruits, to decorate
you will also need a 20cm (Sin), 7'/,cm (3;n) deep round cake tin, lined with a double thickness of nonstick baking parchment
preheat the oven to 170°C. 325°F, gas mark 3. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is . pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the orange zest and 1/, teaspoon salt. Add a little flour if the mixture starts to curdle. Pour into a large bowl and, using a large metal spoon, fold in the liqueur, flour, fruits and nuts.
turn into the tin and bake for 1 hour. Lower the oven to 150°C, 300°F, gas mark 2 and bake for a further hour. Put a double thickness of parchment over the top if the cake is browning too quickly. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in the tin then turn out on to a wire rack. When cold, wrap in baking parchment and foil until you are ready to decorate.
to decorate, gently melt the jam and brandy. Pass through a sieve, then brush allover the cake. Stir lemon juice into the icing sugar until you have a thick icing. Ice the top of the cake - let the icing drizzle down the sides. Once the icing has almost set, decorate with the glace fruits.