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Last-Minute Sherry Mincemeat Cake - Unpublished 4/12/12. Please search for Last-minute Mincemeat Christmas Cake

If you’ve been meaning to make a Christmas cake but haven’t got round to it, fear not – this one can be made at the last minute. In fact, you could bake it on Christmas morning and it would be ready for tea in the afternoon. For the topping, you can use any combination of nuts you like.


Makes one 8 inch (20 cm) round cake




Last-Minute Sherry Mincemeat Cake - Unpublished 4/12/12.  Please search for Last-minute Mincemeat Christmas Cake
Ingredients
For the pre-soaking:
 5 fl oz (150 ml) oloroso or other medium sherry
 1 x 411 g jar Marks & Spencer luxury mincemeat
 4 oz (110 g) ready-to-eat prunes, roughly chopped
 2 oz (50 g) glacé cherries, quartered
 6 oz (175 g) dried mixed fruits
 2 oz (50 g) whole candied peel, chopped
For the cake:
 8 oz (225 g) wholemeal flour
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 5 oz (150 g) butter, softened
 5 oz (150 g) dark brown soft sugar
 grated zest 1 small orange
 grated zest 1 small lemon
 2 oz (50 g) brazil nuts, roughly chopped
 2 oz (50 g) mixed chopped nuts
 3 large eggs
For the topping:
 approximately 18 walnut halves
 approximately 18 pecan halves
 approximately 23 whole brazils
 1 heaped tablespoon sieved apricot jam
 1 tablespoon brandy
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C).
Equipment

You will also need an 8 inch (20 cm) round loose-based cake tin, lightly greased, the base and sides lined with baking parchment.

Method

Begin the cake a few hours before you want to make it and simply place all the pre-soaking ingredients into a bowl, stir really well, then cover with a cloth and leave in a cool place. When you are ready to make the cake, take a roomy bowl and simply place the soaked ingredients, plus all the rest of the cake ingredients, in it, all in one go. Now, using an electric hand whisk , beat everything together as thoroughly as possible, which will probably take about 1 minute.

Then pour it into the prepared tin, smooth the top and arrange the whole nuts in rows across the surface – one row of walnuts, one of brazils, one of pecans, and so on. Finally, cover the top of the cake with a double circle of baking parchment with a hole the size of a 50p piece cut in the centre. Then place the cake on the centre shelf of the oven and bake it for 1¾-2 hours, or until the centre springs back when lightly touched. Then let it cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning it out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

The finishing touch is to heat the apricot jam and brandy together and brush the nuts with the mixture to give them a lovely glaze. Store the cake in an airtight tin and it will keep beautifully moist for 3-4 weeks.

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