Last-minute Mincemeat Christmas Cake
Self-explanatory, I think. You didn’t have time, you don’t want the factory version, so this one made simply with a jar of mincemeat will make a really speedy but excellent alternative.
This recipe is from Delia's Cakes.
Even though this is last-minute, it's best to pre-soak the fruits if you can.
So just measure out the brandy, mincemeat and fruits in the bowl, give them a good stir, then cover with a cloth and leave somewhere cool overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.
When you are ready to make the cake, pre-heat the oven to 170C, gas mark 3.
Now all you do is sift the flour, baking powder, salt and mixed spice into a very large, roomy mixing bowl, then add the butter, sugar and eggs and beat with an electric hand whisk until everything is smooth and fluffy. Now gradually fold in the pre-soaked fruit mixture, chopped nuts and finally the grated lemon and orange zests.
Now take a large spoon and spoon it into the prepared tin, levelling the top with the back of the spoon, then arrange the whole nuts in circles or rows on the surface.
Finally, take a double square of baking parchment with a 50p-sized hole in the centre (which gives it extra protection during the cooking) and place this not on the top of the mixture itself but on the rim of the liner.
Bake the cake on the centre shelf of the oven for 2 hours or until the centre springs back when lightly touched.
Cool the cake in the tin for 30 minutes, then remove it to a wire cooling tray to continue cooling.
While that's happening, heat the apricot jam and brandy together and brush the nuts with this mixture to make them shiny and glossy.
Store the cake in an airtight tin or in parchment-lined foil and it will keep beautifully.
Photograph by Dan Jones