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Alison's Golden Christmas Cake

With Simon Holst

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.

For a 20-23cm round or square (2.25kg) cake:


About 1 cup each cubed crystallised mango, papaya, pineapple and melon (cantaloupe)*
2 cup sultanas
1 cup chardonnay (or other white wine) or 1/2 cup orange juice plus 1/2 cup water
1/2-1 cup glace cherries, optional
250g butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond essence, optional
grated rind of 1 orange and lemon
1 1/2 cups high grade (bread) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

*Buy 1 kg total of 3 or 4 of the crystallised fruits. Cut these into 5mm cubes with scissors or a sharp knife. (You need 3-4 cups of cubed crystallised fruit.)


Add the sultanas to the crystallised fruit. Simmer the fruit and wine in a covered frypan for 5 minutes or until nearly all liquid is absorbed, then leave to stand in the covered pan overnight or for 8 hours to soak up remaining liquid. (Fruit will have a beautiful jewel-like appearance!) Stir in the quartered cherries, if using.

Heat oven to 150C (140C 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 Teflon 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 150C (140C fanbake) for 45 minutes then at 130C (120C fanbake) for 1 1/2-2 hours. Cakes in 20cm pans are about 6-7cm high and should bake at 150C (140C fanbake) for 45 minutes then at 130C (120C fanbake) for 1 1/2-2 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.

(TX: 6 November 2011)