I soak my fruits in January and make a list of cakes to make for Christmas early in the year. There was this Orange Liqueur lying around and so I thought I may as well use it up. The resulting fruit cake has a lovely, moist texture and a subtle, orangy flavour. This is one of the most extravagant cakes I have made and well worth the effort.
250 gms butter; 2 cups brown sugar; 3 cups flour; 5 large eggs; 1 tsp mixed spice; rind and juice of 1 large orange; 1 tbsp orange peel, chopped fine; ½ cup tuitti fruitti; ½ cup red cherries, chopped; ½ cup golden raisins; chopped; ½ cup black raisins, chopped; ½ cup almond meal or almond pieces ( can used cashew nuts also); 1 cup Orange Liqueur; a few hazel nuts for the top.
Soak the dried fruits in the orange liqueur as long as you can. I soaked mine in a glass jar for nearly a year. Shake the jar every other day or when you remember too.
Sieve the flour and spice powder together. Add the almond meal and mix with a wooden sppon.
Whisk butter and sugar until creamy and pale yellow in colour. Add eggs, one by one and gently mix. If the mixture curdles, add a little flour and mix well. Gently fold in the flour a little at a time until everything is used up. Sir in the orange rind and orange juice. Mix well. Now add the fruits and liqueur and stir very, very gently to combine. Batter should be of a thick, flowing consistency. By this time you will be salivating as the fragrance assails your nostrils. Be patient. Pour into 10 inch by 6 inch greased and lined pan, arrange the hazel nuts on top and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes. Reduce to 150 degrees Celcius and continue baking for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. Switch off the oven and cool the cake in the oven itself over night. Next day, unmould, make holes with a skewer all over the cake and drizzle some additional Orange liqueur over the cake if desired. Pack in foil and put away till required. Keeps well.
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