Dutch Christmas cake.
Dutch Christmas cake. Photo: Alan Howard

Biscuit mixture

200 g self-raising flour

125 g dark brown sugar

150 g butter

1 tbsp milk

1 dessertspoon spice mix (see below)

1 dessertspoon ground ginger

Almond filling

250 g almond meal

250 g icing sugar

1 egg

zest of one lemon

120 g slivered almonds, for the top

1 egg, whisked, for egg wash

Spice mix

6 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

½⁄ tsp white pepper

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp fennel seeds, ground

Grease and line a cake tin 25 cm wide x 6 cm high. Preheat the oven to 175C. Mix the spices together for the spice mix.

In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, milk, spice mix and ginger and process, just until it comes together. Divide the mixture into two balls and put to one side.

In the food processor, combine the almond meal, icing sugar, whole egg and lemon zest. Roll into a ball and put to one side.

Roll out one ball of the biscuit mixture and press it into the bottom of the cake tin.

Roll out the ball of almond filling and place it on top of biscuit mixture.

Repeat with the second ball of biscuit mixture. Don't panic if the biscuit mixture breaks up and looks like patchwork. It all seems to come together when it is cooked.

Make an egg wash with a beaten egg and brush the top of the cake. Smooth the top surface with your fingers, scatter the almonds and gently push the almonds on to the top of the cake.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Robbie Howard is former owner of Lynwood Preserves.