Sumptuous sponge spiked with ginger wine and bejeweled with a generous helping of mixed dried fruit.
As much as we love a traditional Christmas cake recipe like Mary Berry’s, not everyone is a fan of classic fruit cake. This ginger Christmas cake is still brimming with festive flavour but is lighter and creamier than its old-school counterpart. It’s also a healthier recipe than most, using organic, unrefined, wholemeal ingredients where possible. The longer you soak the fruit, the better the flavour will be. Half an hour is fine if that’s all you’ve got, but a couple of days is best.
- 250g (9oz) organic mixed dried fruit
- 150ml (1/4 pt) ginger wine
- 250g (9oz) organic butter
- 225g (8oz) Unrefined Dark Muscovado Sugar
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
- 1tbsp ground mixed spice
- To decorate
- 4tbsp apricot glaze
- 500g (1lb 2oz) natural marzipan
- 3 egg whites
- 500g Unrefined Golden Icing Sugar, sieved
- 1tsp glycerine
Put the dried fruit into a bowl. Add the Ginger Wine and stir everything together. Microwave on High for 2 minutes to warm through. (Alternatively put into a pan and warm through for a few minutes). Tip into a sealable container and put the lid on. Leave the fruit to macerate for as long as you’ve got!
Grease and line the base and sides of a 15cm (6in) cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180C / fan 160C / gas 4.
Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together with a hand held mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs a little at a time, adding 2tbsp of flour to stop the mixture curdling. Sift in the remaining flour and mixed spice, then fold in.
Put half the macerated fruit into a processor and whizz until it’s smooth. Add to the flour with the rest of the fruit and boozy liquid. Fold everything together. Spoon into prepared tin, smoothing over the surface, leaving a slight dip in the surface.
Bake for 11/2 hours, test to see if cooked by inserting a cocktail stick in the centre – it should come away clean. If it doesn’t return the cake to the oven for 15 minutes and check again. Cool in the tin.
Turn the cake onto a serving plate or board and peel away the lining paper. Brush the top and sides of the cake with apricot glaze. Roll out the marzipan on a sheet of baking parchment to a 25cm / 10inch circle. Lift up the paper and upturn the marzipan, positioning it centrally. Peel away the paper, then gently press and smooth the marzipan around the top and sides of the cake with the palm of your hand. Trim off excess marzipan around the base of the cake.
Put the egg whites into a large bowl and gradually beat in the icing sugar (with a wooden spoon or in a free standing electric mixer) until it’s a stiff mixture. Add the glycerine. Use a palette knife to spread the icing over the top of the cake, smoothing and peaking. Now spread the cake smoothly over the sides of the cake.
Top tips for making ginger Christmas cake
Make the cake just a few days before you want to eat it for a moist spongy texture. We've made a really deep dramatic cake. If you've got a larger 20cm (8 inch) tin that will be fine, the cake will be 5cm high. It will also cook quicker, so check after 1 hour