Classic Christmas cake
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- 1kg pack Asda Mixed Fruit
- 200ml Courvoisier VS Cognac, plus extra to feed (optional)
- 215g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 215g soft brown sugar
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 225g plain flour, sifted
- 2tsp ground mixed spice
- Zest 1 orange
- Zest 1 unwaxed lemon
- 75g ground almonds
- 100g glacé cherries, quartered
Put the mixed fruit in a wide, shallow bowl and pour over the Courvoisier Cognac. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for 24 hrs, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2.
Grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm-deep round tin with double layers of baking paper. Wrap a long strip of doubled-over baking paper around the outside of the tin and secure in place with baking twine.
Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, mixed spice, orange and lemon zests and ground almonds together in a large bowl until creamy. Stir in the cherries along with the soaked mixed fruit and any Cognac from the bowl. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top to level.
Bake for 2 hrs, then reduce the oven to 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1. Cook for another 1 hr 30 mins to 2 hrs, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the tin, peel off the baking paper and put on a wire rack to cool fully. Wrap in fresh baking paper and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place – it will keep very well for a few months, until ready to decorate or serve.
To add even more Cognac flavor to your Christmas cake, feed it each week. Open the container and unwrap the cake. Pierce holes in the top with a skewer – don’t push all the way through to the bottom. Drizzle over 1-2tbsp of the Cognac, give it a moment to soak in, rewrap, then replace the lid and store again.
If preferred, wrap the cooled cake in fresh baking paper and freeze it. Thaw a couple of weeks before you want to serve it, feed with a little Cognac and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.