Stir-up Sunday is the traditional day to mix up your Christmas goodies. Get ahead and macerate the fruit in booze now. Then bake and freeze the cake in a couple of weeks. This light and fruity cake has an almost carrot cake-like texture and a super-easy icing and decoration.

SERVES 16 PREP 20 mins COOK 1 hour 15 mins

xmas-cake225g mixed dried fruit

200g dried tropical fruit, chopped (mango, papaya, melon, apricots, pineapple)

1 orange, grated zest and juice

200ml sweet sherry

100ml ginger wine

250g butter

225g dark muscovado sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

250g self-raising flour

2tbsp (yes not 2tsp!) ground mixed spice

1tsp ground cinnamon

To decorate:

225g fondant icing sugar

200g tropical fruit, chopped

8 glace cherries

4 sheets gold leaf

1tbsp gold sparkle dust

1 Put the dried fruit, sherry and wine into a pan. Gently heat for 5 mins to plump fruit. Tip the fruit and liquid into a large jam jar and leave in a cool place for 2 weeks. (If you’re short of time, just leave it for an hour!)

2 Heat the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Grease and line an 21cm diameter ring cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then fold in the flou, mixed spice and cinnamon.

3 Tip half of the fruit and booze into a processor and blend until smooth (this gives the cake a fabulous moist spongey texture). Add the blended fruits, the rest of the fruits and booze to the mixture and gently fold everything together.

4 Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour. Push a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Leave to cool in tin.

5 Put the cake onto a board or serving plate. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add 2tbsp cold water to make a thick pourable icing.

6 Spoon the icing over the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.

7 Scatter the dried tropical fruit over the top of the cake. Press the cherries onto the gold leaf and arrange on the cake as a final decoration.

Per serving: 504 cals, 22g fat (13g saturated), 68g carbs

Smart idea:

To make your own ring tin, wash and peel paper from a 400g can, Put into the centre of a 21cm tin.