JULIAN COLE offers up a nice and easy fruitcake.

THIS chuck-it-all-in fruitcake, another family favourite, is slightly adapted from the much-used National Trust Book Of Tea-Time Recipes, which gives recipes from trust properties around the country.

This one comes from Ickworth, a grandiose and flamboyant Georgian Italianate palace in Bury St Edmunds.

It uses a jar of mincemeat, shop bought is fine, and is easy and lovely. Delia Smith does a fancier version as a last-minute Christmas cake.

Mincemeat cake

8oz (250g) self-raising flour, sifted
5oz (150g) soft margarine
5oz (150g) light or dark brown soft sugar
3oz (75g) golden sultanas (ordinary will do)
Two eggs, beaten
1lb (450g) jar of mincemeat
Handful of flaked almonds

Optional extra:
a nice slug of whisky.

Preheat oven to gas mark 3, 325F or 160C (slightly lower for fan ovens).

Grease and line an 8in (20cm) round tin, making sure the greaseproof paper is a couple of inches higher than the top of the tin, as the cake will rise.

Keeping aside the flaked almonds, put all the other ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.

Skip the whisky if it doesn’t appeal, but it does add another layer of flavour.

Bake for 90 to 105 minutes, depending on your oven.

Check after 90 minutes to see if cake is cooked by inserting skewer: it should come out clean.

Take out of oven, leave cake in tin for 15 minutes, remove and place on wire tray to cool.