Make the Christmas cake now
1. Tip the sultanas or raisins, cherries, mixed peel, dates and 250ml of the rum into a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight. (You can speed up this process by tipping the mixture into a heatproof bowl and gently warming in the microwave or in a pan over a low heat. Cool before continuing as below.)
2. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter a deep 20cm round cake tin and line with two layers of baking paper. Whisk together the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition and adding a spoonful of the flour if the mixture starts to look curdled. Whisk in the vanilla.
3. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, orange zest and spices, and slowly fold in until just incorporated. Fold in the blanched almonds and hazelnuts, and the soaked fruit along with any soaking liquid from the bowl. Mix briefly until combined, then scrape into the prepared tin.
4. Bake the cake on the middle shelf of the oven for 2 hours-2 hours 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and pour over 2 tbsp of rum. Cool completely in the tin.
5. Once cool, remove from the tin and wrap well in fresh baking paper, then foil. Store in an airtight container for up to two months and feed with 2 tbsp of rum every two weeks.