Today, a Christmas themed Derby Clandestine Cake Club – with a twist, of course. The baking websites and newsletters I’m subscribed to are awash with amazing ideas, from festive decorations to drunk cakes and everything in between. With such a sweet tooth I saw a tropical fruit cake recipe and was sold instantly – Rob came up with the idea of coconut icing which was a great snowy touch.
As with a traditional Christmas cake, you can really use any fruits you’d like. There are some great pre-mixes of tropical fruit out there that will save you buying them all separately, and the ginger can be omitted if you’re not a fan. I’ve not actually made a Christmas cake before and am surprised at the ratio of fruit over cake – this definitely counts as one of your five a day
Tropical Christmas Cake
600g mixed tropical dried fruit.
(I used a 200g mix of apricots, sultanas and apples, plus 400g mix of pineapple, papaya and mango)
50ml rum or other spirit (optional)
185g golden caster or light brown sugar
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30g chopped crystallised ginger
Spice blend as desired – I used 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg
150g icing sugar
200g desiccated coconut
If you’ve time, soak the dried fruit overnight in the rum , in a covered bowl.
Beat together the eggs and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, spices, baking powder and sieved flour, and beat again until smooth.
Finally, add the dried fruit and ginger and mix well combined with an even distribution of fruit.
Pour into a greased, lined in – 7 inches round with high sides is perfect, but you could use a larger round, a square or even a novelty tin.
Bake at 150 degrees for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Timing will very much depend on your oven type, mine took around 2 1/2 hours in a fan oven. If the top is starting to brown then cover with tin foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely – overnight is ideal as you don’t want the icing to melt off!
For the icing, simply beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. If you have an electric stand mixer then leave it on for 4-5 minutes, the extra beating will lighten the mixture so that the tallow of the butter fades into a white.
Add the coconut and beat again until smooth, use a dash of milk if it’s a little too stiff.
Use immediately as it will set hard – applying generously all over the cake, and smoothing with a palette knife dipped in hot water.
I wanted a little decoration to finish – the coconut icing balled up beautifully and I had planned on making snowmen, but a last minute change of mind led to tropical flowers instead, alluding to the rich colours inside.
These were quite simply 2 flower shapes, one with rounded petals and the other more jagged, in orange and red, placed alternately and finished with a touch of red food colouring as paint, red mottled centre and festive touch of edible glitter! I mixed a little tylo powder into the fondant so it would set hard, and placed them in a wooden egg tray to get a curved effect.
I stuck the flowers onto the cake with a little ordinary white icing, and finished with a festive greeting!
The finished cake – Christmas plate essential, of course
It was a big hit at cake club and back at home as well – the icing set like a delicious coconut ice, I might be making a batch of this just as is! And the fruit colours inside came out great too.