In response to Twitter requests: this recipe dates back to the 1980s when it was possible to buy a modest cookbook for $2.95 – Alison Holst’s Kitchen Diary Volume 8. I have made it every year since. I am a big fan of Alison Holst’s Christmas cakes. The other two I sometimes make are also her recipes but the Rich Fruit Wreath does not appear to be on the internet.
1 cup Brazil nuts
½ cup almonds
½ cup cashews
1 cup mixed glace fruits (glace pineapple, mango, papaya, ginger, mixed peel, strawberries or similar – I use a mix of 3)
1 cup dried fruits (I like dried pears, peaches and nectarines. Dried apple slices work as do dried apricots, prunes, sticky raisins or similar. I use a mix of about 3)
½ cup glace red cherries (reserve a few to decorate the top)
½ cup of glace green cherries (I subbed glace kiwifruit this year)
¾ cup of flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Set oven to 130 degrees Celsius (120 on fanbake). Grease and line a standard ring tin. If you don’t line it, you run the risk of the cake breaking when you turn it out.
Nuts do not need to be blanched (you can substitute different nuts if you prefer). Cut up fruits to almond size and combine with nuts in a bowl. Add all the dry ingredients and make sure everything is coated. Beat the two eggs and vanilla with a fork and tip into the bowl. Use your hands to coat everything. Pile it all into the cake tin and press it down a bit. It will look like a whole lot of fruit and nuts with very little cake mix.
Bake for two hours. Remove from the oven, let it cool in the tin before it tipping it out. Apply brandy or other spirits if you wish.
It needs to be kept for a few days before cutting. Just make sure you cut it in very thin pieces with a very sharp knife.
• I always have too much in the way of dried and glace fruits and I tend to use closer to three cups than two and it still works well.
• This year I used self raising flour as a shortcut and can’t see any difference. I imagine this cake would work equally well with gluten free flours but I haven’t tried it.
• I usually add some small chunks of good chocolate to make it even richer. Not cheap chocolate buttons – Whittakers’ dark, or this year I added some white Callebaut chunks.