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Grand Marnier & Macadamia Fruit Cake {Recipe}

This year I started my own family Christmas tradition with Olive.  We made the fruit cake together.  She helped me stir the fruit every day for two weeks and stood next to me while I made up the cake batter.

While the cakes baked we played Barbies and read stories. It was a very special time for us, one I hope we will continue to share each year. No doubt she'll still be stealing the glace cherries and macadamias out of the mixture when she's 21!

I only made this cake for the first time last year.  I'm not a fruit cake fan myself but Mr Di-licious is.  His only Christmas wish last year was for a fruit cake.

Not having a family recipe to turn to, I did the next best thing; I consulted the Australian Womens Weekly Test Kitchen (AWWTK).

I know some purists out there will criticise me for this but I fiddled with the fruit.  I have enough stuff sitting in my pantry without having half open bags of glace apricots and pineapple.  I just used good ol' Sunbeam Mixed Fruit. I also substituted the walnuts and slivered almonds with macadamias. OMG!

All things considered, this is a pretty easy cake to make if you're not scared of making toffee. Its actually pretty easy to do - use a medium sized, thick bottomed saucepan and have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go.  The toffee gives a very special flavour to the fruit and is worth the little extra effort.

Oh and while we're talking about being organised, don't look at this recipe on Christmas Eve. This is NOT a last minute cake.  The fruit needs to macerate for 10-14 days.  Fruit cakes also improve with age so making it at least two months before Christmas Day will produce a cake with a better developed flavour. Melbourne Cup Weekend is an ideal time to start your fruit.

You'll also need a REALLY BIG bowl for this recipe.  A glass or ceramic one is ideal - you need cling wrap to be able to seal tight to it. And a sturdy spoon to stir the fruit every day is also helpful.

This year I decided to get a little bit big for my boots and divide the mixture into two six-inch pans.  Seven inch pans would have been and learn.  They still look pretty damn cute!

What are your family Christmas traditions?

Recipe: Grand Marnier & Macadamia Fruitcake

Serves 36    You will need to begin this cake at least two weeks ahead.                                                                                             
Recipe adapted from Australian Womens Weekly Christmas & Holiday Entertaining (2008)

1400g mixed fruit
130g macadamias, chopped coarsely
1 tbls finely grated orange rind
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup Grand Marnier

250g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
5 eggs
2 cups plain flour
2tbls Grand Marnier, extra

22cm (9inch) deep round / 19cm square cake pan
brown paper
baking paper
white ready-to-roll  fondant and ribbon for decorating
2 tbls marmalade

Fruit mix
  • Combine fruit, nuts and rind in a large bowl.
  • Heat caster sugar in large heavy based pan over low heat, without stirring, until it begins to melt, then stir until sugar is melted and browned slightly.
  • Remove from heat, slowly stir in juice, return to heat, stir until toffee dissolves [do not boil].
  • Add liqueur, pour over fruit mixture, cover tightly with cling wrap.
  • Store in cool, dark place for 10 -14 days, stirring every day.

Baking the cake
  • Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan forced.
  • Line base & side of deep 22cm round or 19cm square cake pan with one thickness of brown paper and 2 thicknesses baking paper, extending papers 5cm above edges. (I use a paper clip to keep the side strips of paper in place and an apple to weigh down the base papers whilst I mix up the cake.)
  • Beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  • Stir butter mixture into fruit mixture, then sift over flour and stir through.
  • Spread mixture into prepared cake tin.  Tap pan firmly on bench to settle mixture into pan. Level mixture with a wet spatula.
  • Bake cake for approximately 3.5 hours.
  • Remove from oven and brush with extra liqueur; cover hot cake pan with foil, then turn upside down to cool overnight. Cover pan with a towel.
  • Wrap cooled cake in plastic wrap and foil and store in cellar until ready to decorate.

Decorating the cake
  • Make stars out of rolled out fondant icing.
  • Brush top of cake with melted & strained marmalade.  Decorate with fondant stars. Wwrap base of cake with ribbon.
Unwrapping the cake....


Tina said…
For some reason fruitcake is traditional but is not all that popular. Based on that I have hesitated to try making one. However, your recipe here is unique and I love the idea of using macadamias as well as Grand Marnier. I have saved this recipe-it may be the key to a better traditional fruitcake. Glad you posted this one!
Thanks Tina. For someone who doesn't really like fruit cake, even I had to admit that this wasn't bad (Mr Di-licious thinks it's one of the best he's tasted!). The macadamias definitely give it a lift, and if your going to put some grog in your cake, might as well make it something nice!
I love a good fruit cake Di and so does Mum but sadly that's about all in our family who do like it. I'll always remember Mum (and Nanna) make fruit cakes, plum puddings etc for Christmas. Mum still has the HUGE bowl for making it in. It was always kept under her bed and when we got it out we knew we were in for heaps of fun. I'm thinking of making a small individual fruit cake to give to all the teachers this year (there'll be 7 gifts this year between school and kindy - goodness gracious) so I think your recipe would work well. What do you think about making it in say a muffin tin?

Anne xx
Lilly said…
I’ve never seen a fruit cake packed with flavours like yours. It looks amazing! And you can make it 2 weeks ahead? WOW!
It’s end of October and we’re already thinking about Christmas. I think I’ll have a big family celebration with the whole family (40 peeps and counting) and have everyone bring a dish so we can share it together. That is if we can get the house done in time…if not then it’s just the parents and the siblings (already 9 peeps) so either way it will be a celebration.
What a lovely tradition to start with Olive! :)I like fruit cake but nowhere near as much as hubby who can eat a whole one in one sitting! :o
@Anne - what a wonderful baking tradition Anne - I especially love that the bowl was kept under the bed. It sounds like the sized bowl I have in mind. I honestly don't know how this recipe would work muffin size - you would probably need to triple the paper cup lining. But if you do it, let me know how you go. x
@Lilly - either way, it sounds like you'll have a packed house this Christmas. The cake does take two weeks to make but it keeps for 3 months, well wrapped in a cool, dark spot. You can also freeze if for 12 months. Happy baking!
@Lorraine - Give this recipe a go some time - Mr NQN will love it!
frogpondsrock said…
I am the keeper of my families recipes. I make my grandmothers plum pudding for Christmas and my favourite cake is my Mothers boiled fruit cake. Thank you for coming over to my blog today, so that I followed you back here. I am also terribly absent minded so please don't be offended If I don't come back, it just means that I have lost you. I did add this recipe to pininterest though so that should (fingers crossed) remind me.. cheers Kim
@Kim - well I'm glad you liked what you saw when you got here! You'll mostly see me loitering around your site as Mummy Di-alogue.

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