Glazed Nut Topping
This is suitable for all cakes and is good for people who don't like the extra sweetness of icing.
The Delia Online Cookery School: Watch how to roast, chop and prepare nuts in our video. Press the recipe image to play.
This recipe is from Delia's Happy Christmas.
First of all preheat the grill to the highest setting for 10 minutes, and lightly toast the nuts, which not only gives them a better colour but a nicer flavour too.
Be very careful though to watch them like a hawk, they really only need a couple of minutes if the grill is very hot and they should be pale gold rather than deep brown! You can also watch how to roast nuts in our Cookery School Video on the right.
While they're cooling, place the apricot jam and brandy in a small saucepan and heat them gently together, whisking until they are thoroughly blended. Now using a brush, paint some of the mixture all over the surface of the cake. Then arrange the nuts in whatever pattern you like. There's room for real artistic licence here, so if you're not that way inclined you could rope in someone else - this bit after all, does not involve any cooking, just artistic talent. Finally, brush the beautifully arranged nuts and lots more glaze, then store the cake in a tin or polythene box until it's needed. Don't worry about the keeping-quality of this glaze - we have stored glazed cakes for three months and they were still in beautiful condition.