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Annabel’s Christmas Cake
300g dried pitted dates, chopped, divided 250ml water 2 tbsp golden syrup ½ tsp baking soda 300g glace red cherries 160g dried papaya or mango chunks 160g dried pineapple rounds, quartered 160g dried figs, quartered 125g dried cranberries 125ml whiskey or brandy, plus extra to brush 150g brazil nuts 230g whole almonds 3 eggs 220g brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp almond extract 200g high grade flour, sifted ½ tsp baking powder 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves ¼ tsp salt To decorate (optional) 3 tbsp apricot jam warmed with 1 tbsp water a few extra dried figs, pecan nuts and dried fruit chunks
© Annabel Langbein Media
To decorate (optional)
Place dates in a pot with water, golden syrup and baking soda. Bring to a simmer. Cook until dates are mushy and liquid has been absorbed (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool.
While dates cool place all other dried fruits in a microwave bowl with whiskey or brandy. Cover and cook on 50% power for 10 minutes. Stir well and mix in the nuts.
Preheat oven to 130°C. Line cake tin or tins with baking paper (I use a 23cm cake tin for a very large cake or recycled 450g tuna cans for small cakes – look for cans without a plastic coating inside). In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, brown sugar and essences to combine. Stir in date and fruit mixture. Add flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Stir until evenly combined (there is very little batter).
Spoon mixture (which will be very thick) into prepared tin/tins, pressing firmly with the back of the spoon. Bake until top of cake feels firm (about 2½-3 hours for one very large cake, 1½ hours for small cakes and somewhere in between for middle-sized cakes!). Stand for 10 minutes, then turn out and brush with a little extra whiskey or brandy while hot.
If desired, brush top with warmed jam glaze and arrange extra dried fruit and nuts on top.
Wrap a clean cloth around the cake to prevent it drying out before storing in an airtight container. Cut with a hot knife.