- 520 gm dried fruit, such as peaches, apricots, pears or figs, finely chopped
- 400 gm glacé peaches, finely chopped
- 300 gm sultanas
- 160 gm dates, seeded, coarsely chopped
- 100 gm candied orange rind, finely chopped
- 2 peaches, stones removed, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juice and thinly peeled rind only
- 300 ml brandy
- 80 ml Grand Marnier and peach liqueur
- 335 gm (2¼ cups) plain flour
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp each ground cinnamon and cloves
- 325 gm butter, softened
- 280 gm raw caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only
- 4 eggs
- 500 gm fondant (see note)
- For dusting: pure icing sugar
- 1Preheat oven to 150C. Combine dried, candied and fresh fruit, rind and juice, 200ml brandy, Grand Marnier and peach liqueur in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until alcohol is absorbed (8-10 minutes). Cool, discard lemon rind.
- 2Sieve flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and ½ teaspoon salt into a bowl.
- 3Beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla seeds and beat until just combined. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with macerated fruit until just combined.
- 4Divide mixture among six greased 10cm-diameter deep cake tins. Cover tops tightly with baking paper, tie with string, cover with aluminium foil and bake until a skewer withdraws clean (50 minutes-1 hour). Stand in tins for 10 minutes, remove and drizzle with remaining brandy.
- 5Roll out fondant to 4mm-thick on a work surface dusted with sieved pure icing sugar and cut out six 10cm-diameter rounds. Place a round on top of each cake and top with orange meringue frosting (see short-order recipe below) if desired. Cakes can be wrapped in foil and stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Fondant is available from supermarkets and cake decorating shops. Orange meringue frosting
Combine 165gm caster sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until syrup reaches 121C on a sugar thermometer (10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk 2 eggwhites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. With motor running, add sugar syrup in a thin steady stream. Increase speed to high and whisk until cooled to room temperature and meringue is thick and glossy (15-20 minutes). Whisk in finely grated rind of 1 orange and 40ml Grand Marnier, to taste.
Drink Suggestion: Strong cuppa tea. Drink suggestion by Max Allen