Honeyed Apricot and Brandy Cake

This cake has a light texture which makes a good contrast to the heavier Christmas foods. The flavour of honey and brandy is very distinct and the apricots give the cake a refreshing sharpness.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (250 g) dried apricots
  • 4 oz (125 g) seedless raisins
  • 4 fl oz (125 ml) brandy
  • 4 fl oz (125 ml) unsweetened fresh orange juice
  • 6 oz (175 g) self-raising flour, plus extra
  • 2 teaspoons (2 x 5 ml spoons) baking powder
  • 6 oz (175 g) softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 4 rounded tablespoons (4 x 15 ml rounded spoons) honey
  • 4 medium-large eggs (size 2-3), separated
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml spoon) caraway seeds
  • icing sugar

Method

Chop up the dried apricots and put them in a saucepan with the raisins. Pour in the brandy and orange juice. Cover the pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir well, and them remove from the heat and leave on one side for at least an hour.

Thoroughly butter and flour a 8½-9-inch (21-25 cm) diameter, deep, loose-based cake tin. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/180°C. Cream the butter with the honey until light and fluffy. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time, whisking hard after each addition. Then, using a metal spoon, stir in half of the flour followed by the apricot and raisin mixture and the caraway seeds. Then stir in the rest of the flour. Lastly, whisk the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks and fold them gently into the cake mixture a bit at a time, using a large metal spoon. Spoon into the prepared tin and spread level.

Cook just below the centre of the oven for 60-70 minutes until a small knife comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for 10 minutes or more, and then push the cake out of the tin and manoeuvre it with a spatula on to a cooking rack. Before serving sprinkle a fairly thick layer of icing sugar through a sieve over the top of the cake.

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