Big Fruit Cake
From Julie Biuso's Sweet Feast, photograph by Aaron McLean.
Makes a big cake, serves 20
Ready in 2 hours, plus cooling
- 160g currants
- 160g sultanas
- 50g glacé cherries, chopped
- finely grated zest and juice 2 lemons
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 200g high-grade flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- pinch of salt
- 175g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 large (size 7) free-range eggs, beaten together
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 100g dark unsweetened chocolate, cut into small cubes
- 100ml milk
- 70g blanched almonds for the top
Put dried fruit and glacé cherries in a bowl with the lemon zest, lemon juice and brandy, stir well, cover and leave to soften for 1 hour (or up to 12 hours).
Preheat oven to 170°C. Line bottom and sides of a 20cm deep cake tin with baking paper.
Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt together on a piece of paper.
Put butter in a bowl and beat briefly with an electric beater until creamy and loose. Beat in caster sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue beating until fluffy and lighter in colour (creamed). You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat eggs together with a fork, then add them gradually to the creamed butter and sugar, adding a tablespoon or two of the sifted dry ingredients to help stabilise the mixture.
Fold in remaining sifted dry ingredients, ground almonds, dried and glacé fruit with all the juices and the chocolate. Mix in milk. Spoon cake mix into tin, and smooth the top with a knife. Scatter almonds on top or make a pattern with them.
Bake for about 1½ hours, protecting the top of the cake with tin foil after the first hour. When the cake is done, a skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Cool in the tin, then, keeping cake in its baking paper, wrap in greaseproof paper. Store in an airtight container (uncut, the cake will keep well for a few weeks but once cut, it will dry out in several days).