Alison’s Golden Christmas Cake

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Chef: as heard on Nine To Noon Monday 17 November 2003

Tags: baking, cake, Christmas, Christmas cake

Celebrate our summer Christmas (or a Golden Wedding) with this delicious, golden cake enriched with ground almonds, and studded with light coloured crystallised tropical fruits.

Ingredients

For a 20 cm (8”) square cake or 23cm (9”) round or square cake:

  • About 1 C each cubed crystallised mango, papaya, pineapple and melon (cantaloupe)
  • (Buy 1 kg total of three or four of the crystallised fruits; cut these into 5mm cubes with
  • scissors or a sharp knife. You need 3-4 C of cubed crystallised fruit)
  • 1 C sultanas
  • 1 C dried cranberries or extra sultanas
  • 1 C chardonnay (or other white wine) or ½ C orange juice plus ½ C water
  • ½-1 C glace cherries (optional)
  • 250 gms butter
  • 1 C sugar
  • 5 lge eggs
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp almond essence (optional)
  • grated rind of 1 orange and lemon
  • 1½ C high grade (bread) flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder

Method

Add the sultanas and cranberries to the crystallised fruit. Simmer the fruit and wine in a covered frypan for five minutes or until nearly all liquid is absorbed, then leave to stand in the covered pan overnight or for eight hours to soak up remaining liquid (fruit will have a beautiful jewel-like appearance). Stir in the quartered cherries, if using.

Heat oven to 150°C (140°C fanbake), with rack below the middle. Prepare a 20cm square, or 23cm round or square pan, lining sides and base with baking paper or a liner.

In a food processor or large bowl beat the soft (but not melted) butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in one egg at a time, adding a spoonful of the ground almonds after each one. Beat in the essences, remaining ground almonds and the finely grated citrus rinds then sift in the flour and baking powder. Combine the cake mixture and the cold, prepared fruit using your hand and spread mixture evenly in the prepared pan.

Cakes in 23cm pans are 5-6cm high and should bake at 150°C (140°C fanbake) for 45 minutes then at 130°C (120°C fanbake) for 1½-2 hours. Cakes in 20cm pans are about 6-7cm high and should bake at 150°C (140°C fanbake) for 45 minutes then at 130°C (120°C fanbake) for 1½-2 hours. Cover top with paper if it browns too fast. Cakes are cooked when a skewer pushed deeply in the centre comes out clean. For best flavour, leave a week before eating. Serve as is, or ice with almond icing and white icing.