Tiny little gingerbread houses together make a village, which makes me happy. I’ve always had a slight issue with the lone gingerbread house. It’s all a bit Hansel and Gretel to me. I worry about who might jump out of the woods. READ MORE
A Christmassy cake that doesn’t make your teeth itch from fondant icing, or break them with fondant’s posh Royal sister. An honest fruit loaf, flecked with toasted almonds, a hint of gingerbread and topped with the lightest fluffiest brandy butter inspired icing you ever sunk your teeth into. It doesn’t keep for long, but then it won’t have to.
– 200g soft butter
– 200g soft dark brown sugar
– 400g self raising flour
– 100g sultanas
– 100g toasted flaked almonds
– 4 large eggs
– 4 tbsp milk
– 2 tbsp gingerbread syrup (if you don’t have it, substitute with more milk and 1 tsp ground ginger and cinnamon)
– 100g soft butter
– 245g icing sugar
– Zest of 1 orange
– 15mls brandy
This recipe makes a monster of a fruit loaf, big enough to fill a tin that measures 25 x 11 x 7cm. If you prefer your cakes on the dainty size then please feel free to halve the quantities. Look how big it is!
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and grease and line your loaf tin. Cream 200g butter with the soft brown sugar until creamy looking. Takes about 4 minutes using an electric mixer or about 10 minutes by hand with a wooden spoon. Then add the flour and mix again until you have a dry breadcrumby consistency. Next add the fruit and nuts (which you can substitute for whatever you like but please do toast whatever nuts you add as it makes all the difference to the end result.)
To your very dry looking crumble type mixture add all 4 eggs, the milk and the gingerbread syrup if you have it. Mix well until all combined then smooth into the loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes until a skewer comes out of the centre of the loaf clean. Do check it from 50 minutes onwards though as all ovens are very different. If it looks like it’s browning too quickly on the top but is still raw inside then feel free to fashion a foil hat for the top of the cake to protect it.
Leave to cool on a wire rack. Make the brandy butter icing by creaming 100g soft butter with the zest of an orange and the icing sugar. Once really fluffy (7 mins top speed in a stand mixer or at least 12 minutes with a wooden spoon) add the brandy and mix again.
Spread onto your cooled cake and add any decorations you fancy. Keeps for 5 days in an airtight tin or freezes very well without the icing too.
I’m a mum of 3 boys, a cookbook writer and also a finalist on the 2011 Great British Bake Off.
I’ve decided to record the recipes I use, partly to save them somewhere and partly in case someone else might like to use them...
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