This easy last-minute Christmas loaf cake is the perfect simple dessert to ensure your Christmas day celebrations go smoothly.
200g raisins and sultanas
50g sour cherries
100g dried figs, chopped
150g mixed peel
1 orange, zested and juiced
115g butter, plus extra melted for the tin
115g muscovado sugar
4 eggs, beaten
120g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
60g brioche crumbs
40g chopped pecans and pistachios
½ tsp ground mace
½ tsp ground cinnamon
icing sugar, to serve (optional)
Tip the fruit and peel into a bowl with the orange juice and zest and 150ml of the brandy. Stir well, then leave in a warm place for 2 hrs for the fruit to plump up.
Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 4. Brush a 900g loaf tin with the melted butter, then line with baking parchment. Beat the muscovado sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the fruit and the rest of the ingredients except for the remaining brandy and icing sugar. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin, put the tin in a deep tray and bake for 1 hr 15 mins-1 hr 30 mins or until a skewer prodded in comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the brandy (this makes it easier for the cake to soak it up). Leave to cool, then dust with icing sugar, if using.