Honey Saffron Cake

Honey Saffron Cake

225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp brandy
1/2 tsp Saffron threads
225g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
225g plain flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
300g raisins
300g sultanas
100g natural-coloured glacé cherries, halved
85g mixed peel
50g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
50g whole blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
50g walnuts pieces
3 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp honey

Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line a round, deep 20cm cake tin with two layers of baking parchment (see Knowhow, below). Tie a few sheets of newspaper around the outside of the tin, level with the top of the baking parchment.

Heat the brandy in a small pan, then add the saffron and leave to infuse off the heat for a few mins. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then beat together until creamy and smooth. Mix the fruit, nuts and brandy saffron mix into the batter and stir well.

Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top and make a slight dip in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs, then cover loosely with foil to stop the top over-browning. Turn oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and cook for 1 hr more until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then, while it’s still warm, prod the cake all over with a skewer.

Mix the brandy and honey together and spoon over the cake. Wrap up well in foil and keep in an airtight container until Christmas, feeding with more honeyed brandy every so often.

Flavours of India