ed’s note: Shared by Melinda Lewis, General Manager AIM Australia & New Zealand
This recipe was taken from the book Home Baking by Meg Rivers,
who owns an artisan bakery based in the Cotswolds in the UK. Meg has a world famous, mail-order bakery.
This recipe is based on the first cake Meg ever sent out by mail-order; however, it is the gluten-free version. Apart from the lack of gluten, making the cake a little crumblier when sliced, it is every bit as good—rich, moist, and delicious. You have the choice of making the cake and double wrapping it in a container for up to two months, or eat it as we did, one week later. It was divine.
For a non-alcoholic version, perhaps try soaking the fruit in freshly squeezed orange juice. You will note the recipe calls for a 15 cm (6 in.) tin.
- ¾ cup (115 g) currants
- ¾ cup (115 g) sultanas or raisins
- ½ cup (70 g) mixed candied peel
- ½ cup (60 g) chopped glace cherries
- 3 tbsp. (25 g) of chopped crystallized ginger
- 1⁄3 cup (45 g) chopped walnuts
- 4 tbsp. brandy or cognac
- ½ cup (1 stick, 120 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1⁄3 cup (80 g) packed brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 2⁄3 cup (90 g) AIM gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (35 g) ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1 tsp. ground mixed spice (or apple pie spice)
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 9 walnut halves
- 8 whole glace cherries
Start the cake the day before you want to bake it. Put the currants, sultanas/raisins, mixed peel, glace cherries, ginger, and chopped walnuts in a bowl. Add the brandy, cover, and soak overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (130 degrees Celsius).
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until paler and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the flour, ground almonds, and spices, and slowly fold in until a smooth mixture is obtained. Add the brandy-soaked fruits and stir in.
Spoon the mixture into a deep, 15 cm (6 in.) round cake pan lined with baking paper, and spread the mixture until level. Decorate the top of the cake with the walnut halves and whole glace cherries, placing them in a circular pattern.
Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated oven for about 90 minutes. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. The cake will remain soft to the touch when baked, unlike a pound cake that will spring back when pressed with your fingertips. The finished color is not very different from the uncooked state, and there will often be a residue of nut oil on the surface, but don’t worry, the oil is absorbed back into the cake on cooling. Remove from the oven and let stand for an hour or two before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Allow the cake to set for 24 hours before serving. The longer you can leave it to mature, the better. Cut with a sharp, serrated knife using a sawing motion. The cake will keep for 6–8 weeks in an airtight container.