Rich Christmas Cake.

This is a Maggie Beer rich , moist Christmas recipe that I have used over the year - always receiving compliments and a request for a 2nd piece. Enjoy.

Ingredients

500 g sultanas
300 g currants
175 g seedless raisins
1⁄4 cup good-quality bitter marmalade
150 g mixed peel
2 grated oranges, zest of
120 ml brandy
300 g unbleached plain flour
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
220 g softened unsalted butter
200 g soft light brown sugar
4 large free-range eggs
100 g blanched almonds

(i also add 250 gm melted dark chocolate)

Method

Mix the dried fruit and orange zest together in a glass or china bowl.
Pour the brandy over and mix again.
Cover the bowl and leave for at least 24 hours, turning mixture occasionally.
Preheat oven to 140 degrees C.
Grease and line a 24cm round cake tin with several layers of paper.
Paper should extend 10cm above the rim of the tin.
Sift flour, spices and salt.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl then mix very gradually into the creamed mixture.
Gently fold in the spiced flour, then fold in the dried fruit mixture.(and chocolate).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Decorate the top with blanched almonds.
Bake for about 3 hours.
A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean when the cake is cooked.
A baking dish full of water placed on the oven shelf below the cake during cooking will help keep the cake moist.
Cool the cake in the tin for 30 minutes before transfering to a wire rack.
To store, wrap the cake in several layers of greaseproof paper, then wrap in foil and store in an air-tight tin.