West Indian Christmas Cake

West Indian Christmas Cake
West Indian Christmas Cake
Serves/Makes: 12
Ingredients

For the cake

  • 225g (8oz) self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 175g (6oz) unsweetened stoned dates
  • 115g (4oz) no-need-to-soak dried prunes
  • 115g (4oz) seedless raisins
  • 115g (4oz) golden sultanas
  • 115g (4oz) currants
  • 115g (4oz) dried cranberries
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2tbsp treacle
  • 1tbsp lemon peel, finely grated  
  • 1tbsp orange peel, finely grated
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • butter or margarine
  • 450ml (1pt) Antiguan rum or brandy
  • 200ml (7fl oz) unsweetened orange juice

 For the decoration      

  • 175g (6oz) sugar paste
  • 1tbsp apricot jam, softened
  • icing sugar, to dust
  • strips of lemon peel  
  • strips of orange peel  
Method
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.  
  • Heat the jam until soft.
  • Grease and line a deep 20cm (8in) round cake tin.  
  • Chop the dates and prunes, and place in a pan.   Pour the orange juice over them, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.  
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and beat the mixture until pureed.  
  • Sift the flour and spice into a bowl, adding any husks that remain in the sieve.  
  • Add the dried fruits with the dates and egg yolks.  
  • In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  
  • Spoon the fruit mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together.  
  • Gently fold in the rum or brandy and egg whites.   Transfer to the cake tin, and bake for 1½ hours. Set aside to cool.
  • Remove the cake from the tin, and brush the top with jam.   Dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the sugar paste thinly.   
  • Lay the sugar paste over the top of the cake, and trim the edges.  
  • Decorate with orange and lemon rind.