West Indian Christmas Cake
West Indian Christmas CakeServes/Makes: 12
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
- 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.