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American Light Christmas Cake

Ingredients

350g (12oz) glace cherries
1 x 200g (7 oz) can of pineapple in natural juice
350g (12 oz) no-soak dried apricots
100g (4 oz) whole almonds
finely grated rind of 2 lemons
350g (12 oz) sultanas
250g (9 oz) self raising flour
250g (9 oz) caster sugar
250g (9 oz) soft baking margarine
75g (3 oz) ground almonds
5 eggs


TO DECORATE
whole almonds
glace cherries, halved


TO FINISH
100g (4 oz) icing sugar, sifted




Method

1. Grease a 23cm (9 in) deep round cake tin, and line the base and sides with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper.

2. Cut each cherry into quarters, rinse and drain well. Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry both the cherries and pineapple very thoroughly on absorbent kitchen paper. Snip the apricots into pieces. Blanch the whole almonds in boiling water, then skin and roughly chop. Place the prepared fruit and nuts in a large washing up or mixing bowl with the grated lemon rind and gently mix. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well for 1 minute until smooth. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and decorate the top with blanched almonds and halved glace cherries.

3.TO BAKE IN 2 OVEN AGA Stand a steel rack in its lowest position in the large roasting tin, and place the cake on top. Slide the roasting tin onto the lowest set of runners in the Roasting oven with the cold plain shelf on the second set of runners. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes until a pale golden brown - the colour of a perfect Victoria sandwich. Watch very carefully. Then transfer roasting tin and cake to the Simmering Oven and cook for about a further 2 ½ hours until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.

TO BAKE IN 4 OVEN AGA Cook on the grill shelf on the lowest set of runners in the Baking oven for 1 hour sliding the cold plain shelf on to the set of runners above if the cake is getting too brown. Watch very carefully. Transfer to the Simmering oven for a further 45 - 60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.

4. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.

5. You can glaze the cake if you wish. Mix the sieved icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing and drizzle over the top of the cake.





Reproduced with the kind permission of Mary Berry from her book, 'Mary Berry's New Aga Cookbook', Published by Headline; ISBN: 074727357X
 
 
 
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