Christmas Sherry Mincemeat 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. If possible, you need three days to pre-soak some of the ingredients in sherry, but if you have only three hours, that will do. There is also more good news: it's an all-in-one cake, which means everything can be thrown in the bowl together, mixed and then baked with hardly any effort at all. Results? One of the nicest Christmas cakes ever.
This recipe is from Delia's Vegetarian Collection. For the pre-soaking:
Begin the cake 3 days 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, preferably using an electric hand whisk (or a wooden spoon), beat everything together as thoroughly as possible, which will probably take about 1 minute.
Then pour it into the prepared tin, level the top and arrange the whole nuts in rows across the surface – one row of Brazils, one of pecans, and so on.
Finally, cover the top of the cake with a double square of silicone paper (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 2-2½ 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 to 4 weeks.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C).