Some people have a gift for giving – coming up with original ideas which thrill the recipient.
Alas, I’m not one of those and while I don’t find it easy to come up with the perfect present for the females in my life, it’s even more difficult to find the right thing for the males.
However, a few years ago I was making cakes for a raffle shortly before my older brother’s birthday which reminded me he loves fruit cakes so I made an extra couple for him. They were greeted enthusiastically and that’s what I’ve fallen back on ever since.
I use Alison Holst’s recipe for Cathedral Window Cake, which is mostly dried fruit and nuts held together with a little batter.
The recipe specifies the fruit and nuts but it doesn’t really matter what you use – I usually replace the cherries with cranberries, some of the other nuts with hazlenuts and sometimes add ginger.
The recipe says use one 20cm ring tin but I find the mixture fits in to two tins that size.
When I put them in the oven I put a sheet of lunch paper on top and then newspaper for the first hour or so to allow the inside to cook without the fruit and nuts on top getting overbrowned.