1 round 23 cm cake tin with loose bottom 500g mixed dried fruit 500g sultanas 250g currants 180ml brandy 125g glace cherries 275g plain flour 2tsp ground mixed spice 225gsoft brown sugar 225g soft butter Zest of 1 medium orange Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon 100g ground almonds
Method: Put all dried fruit except the cherries in a large mixing bowl (pour over 90ml of the brandy) and cover with cling film stirring occasionally. Line the cake tin with 3 layers of baking paper and wrap the outside of the tin with a double layer of brown paper.
Pre heat the oven to 150c/130c fan/gas2. Rinse the cherries in warm water and then pat dry on kitchen paper, cut each one in half. Sift the flour and the mixed spice together in a separate mixing bowl.
In large mixing bowl cream together the sugar and the butter and add the eggs one at a time with one tbs. of flour and beat well after each addition.
Add the grated zest of the lemon and orange to the creamed mixture with the rest of the flour and add the ground almonds, cherries and the dried fruit and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top. Bake for 1 hour then reduce the heat to 140c/120c fan/gas 1 and bake for 3 hours or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack leaving the baking paper on. Once cold cover in foil and store in a air tight tin. After 1 week unwrap and pierce with a skewer and drizzle with 2 tbs. of brandy, re wrap and store and repeat twice over next two weeks.
The cake is now ready to decorate.
I now brushed the cake with apricot jam and covered with marzipan and set aside for a day to harden. I then rolled out some white roll out icing and covered the cake all over. Then I piped a pattern around the base and the top edge of the cake. This was left aside while I made my reindeer.
I colored some roll out icing which consisted of ½ roll out icing ½ flower paste this helps the reindeer to harden. I made the shape of it’s body and then formed the legs and finally shaped the head. I made the antlers out of flower paste, this hardens better. Then I made the ears and the tail. I left these over night to harden. The next day I assembled the reindeer onto the cake.
Placed the body and then attached the legs using a little icing to glue them together. I then attached the head, tail and the ears. I had made two holes in the top of the head for the antlers to sit in. Then I colored some icing red and made the head harness and the reins and then I colored some icing in green and did the body harness and made some yellow balls out of icing for decoration on the harness.
I the made the eyes and colored in the pupil. Finally I piped a message on the cake and added a ribbon and a bow to finish off.
I have made the fruit cake a few times now and love it but I just keep changing the decoration. I got the idea of the reindeer off the net. I was really pleased how it has turned out.