Wow your guests with this deliciously moist, fruity and flavoursome cake, with stunning snowflake icing. Like all rich fruit cakes, if you wrap it well and store it correctly, it will improve with keeping and stay fresh for many months. To make the cake even more rich and boozy, unwrap it every month, skewer the top and spoon over 30ml (2tbsp) brandy, then wrap the cake up again and store as before.
Put the soaked mixed fruits together in a bowl and mix in the Moroccan almond, vanilla and lemon extracts along with the ground mixed spice and orange rind and juice. Mix well and set aside whilst preparing the cake tin.
Preheat the oven to gas 2, 150°C, fan 130°C. Cut a 20cm (8inch) circle of brown parcel paper and place in the bottom of a deep 18cm (7inch) round cake tin. Lay 2 circles of baking paper on top. Grease the sides and line with 2 layers of baking paper.
Measure round the circumference of the tin, and also the depth, adding on 2.5cm (1inch) to each measurement. Cut a double thickness band of brown paper to these measurements and secure tightly round the outside of the tin either with a piece of string, metal paper clips or staples. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with the sugar and treacle until well blended and creamy in texture. Gradually whisk in the eggs and stir in the ground almonds. Sift over the flour and baking powder on top. Carefully mix together until thoroughly combined.
Add the dried fruit and all the liquid from the bowl and mix together well, then spoon into your prepared cake tin, smoothing the top. Make an indent in the centre to help achieve a flat rise. Bake in the oven for 2 3/4-3 hours until rich brown and firm to the touch – a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean when the cake is cooked.
Put the cake tin on a wire rack and remove the brown paper collar. Leave the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.
Discard all the wrappings from the sides and base of the cake, and wrap well in fresh baking paper followed by a layer of foil. Store in an airtight container for at least 1 month before decorating.
To decorate, a couple of days before you want to serve your cake, take 100g (3 1/2oz) Regal-Ice and knead it gently to make it soft and pliable – keep the remaining Regal-Ice tightly wrapped in order to prevent it from drying out. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the Regal-Ice thinly. Using assorted sized star and snowflake cutters, stamp out about 40 different shapes and place on a tray lined with baking parchment. Cover loosely with more parchment and put the tray in a dry, cool place for at least 24 hours until the shapes are dry and firm enough to be able to arrange on top of the cake.
When you’re ready to assemble the cake, unwrap it and discard all the wrappings. Using a large serrated knife, carefully cut the cake into 3 horizontal layers.
Gently knead the marzipan to soften and make pliable, then divide into 3 equal pieces. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar, roll each piece out to form a 20cm (8inch) round - use the cake tin base as a guide. Brush one side of each portion of cake with apricot jam and lay a circle of marzipan on top of each. Stack up the cake slices, pushing down gently to secure, neaten the edges as necessary, and then transfer to a serving stand or cakeboard.
Gently knead the remaining Regal-Ice to make it soft and pliable, then roll out thickly to form a circle to fit the top of the cake. Transfer to the cake top and using your fingertips, dusted with icing sugar, smooth and neaten the edges, and then smooth over the top.
To serve, arrange the cut out stars and snowflakes over the top of the cake and decorate with silver pearls. Your cake is now ready to serve and enjoy!
See more Adventurous Christmas baking recipes