Makes 1 cake, 30 minutes preparation, up to 2 hours cooking

This gorgeous fruit cake is packed with cherries and sultanas and is a great way to end a Burns Supper or you can simply enjoy a slice with a cuppa any day of the week.

Ingredients

  • 100g blanched almonds
  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 180g light muscovado sugar
  • zest 1 large orange
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam or marmalade
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 500g mixed dried fruits
  • 100g whole glacé cherries

Glaze

  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp caster sugar

Method

  1. Put the almonds into a small bowl and pour over boiling water to just cover. Leave for 5 minutes then drain in a sieve and leave to dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 5. Line a deep loose-based 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Put the butter in a large bowl and beat well until soft. Add the sugar and beat to cream together until light and fluffy. Stir in the orange zest and apricot jam.
  4. Sieve together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, beating well between each addition to avoid the mixture curdling. If the mixture starts to curdle, stir in a little flour.
  5. Add the remaining flour and ground almonds to the bowl bit by bit, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the milk and then add the dried fruit and cherries and mix gently together.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and spread level using the back of a spoon. Arrange the whole almonds close together in neat circles on the top of the cake then bake in the oven for 45 mins.
  7. Lower the oven temperature to 160C/130 C fan/gas 2 and cook for a further 60–80 minutes. Check the cake after 50 minutes by inserting a wooden or metal skewer into the cake. When it’s done it should have just a few crumbs attached. Check every 10 minutes - it’s important not to overcook this cake so that the centre remains a little soft.
  8. When cooked, remove the cake briefly from the oven, put the milk and sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Brush over the top of the cake and return the cake to the oven for 2-3 mins to glaze the top of it. Remove and allow the cake to cool in the tin. When quite cold remove from the tin and wrap in foil and keep for at least 2 days before cutting.

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