Serves 12 portions
Oven temperature: 160 C
Baking time: 75mins
300g packet tropical fruit medley
115g (4 oz) dried cranberries
85g (3 oz) dried sour cherries
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 large orange:
225g (8 oz) Stork tub
225g (8 oz) golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs
90g (3 oz) ground almonds
225g (8 oz) plain flour
1 ¼ level teaspoon baking powder
Icing and to decorate:
65g (2 ½ oz) whole almonds
65g (2 ½ oz) caster sugar
275g( 10 oz) icing sugar, sieved
115g (4 oz) Stork spread
1 tablespoon milk
30cm (12 in) cake board
1 quantity of gingerbread houses
A delicious alternative to a traditional Christmas cake. A simple but impressive centrepiece to wow your friends and family.
Chop all the dried fruits into small (cranberry-size) pieces. Combine these in a bowl with the orange rind and juice and mix well. Leave to soak for approximately 30 minutes.
Put the Stork, sugar, eggs and almonds in a mixing bowl and sieve the flour and baking powder over. Beat until well mixed then fold in the fruit mixture.
Spoon into a greased and bottom-lined 20cm (8 inch) deep round cake tin.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C, 160°C fan, Gas mark 4 for 1 – 1¼ hours or until cooked through (a fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean). Leave to cool before removing the cake from the tin.
Place the almonds and sugar in a heavy based pan and place over a moderate heat until the sugar melts and turns a golden caramel colour shaking the pan from time to time. Pour onto parchment paper and leave till cold. Place in polythene bag and bash with rolling pin until roughly ground. Beat the icing sugar, Stork and milk together and spread half over sides of cake.. Spread remaining icing over top and sprinkle with the praline mix.
To assemble the cake: make the gingerbread houses and decorate them (see gingerbread houses recipe).
To decorate the base board, roll out some of the sugar paste until very thin and lay it over the board. Roll it firmly into the surface of the board and use the rolling pin to smooth paste off the edges. Place the cake on top secured with a little royal icing to stop it moving.
Spread a little royal icing on the back of each house and gently push onto the side of the cake so that the bottom of each one rests on the cake board. Try not to allow any gaps between the houses.
There may be some houses leftover which can be eaten separately.
Tips if time is short: Leave out the praline and use ready chopped nuts. Make the cake in advance and freeze for up to 2 months, saving time nearer Christmas. The biscuits can be made 5-6 days in advance and kept in an airtight container before decorating