Pan Speziale

Makes 2 deep 16 cm cakes

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 3/170°C

250g raisins
200g sultanas
200ml sweet sherry or Vin Santo
½ tsp cinnamon powder
600g Bramley apples
150g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), chopped
175g candied peel
100g glace cherries
120g flaked almonds
320g ground almonds
200g hazelnuts (toasted & skinned) (100g whole, 100g chopped)
1 tsp baking powder
100g plain flour
4 eggs
50g caster sugar 100ml brandy

For the Syrup:
4 tbsp honey
125g caster sugar
110g Muscovado sugar
125g butter

  • Bring the raisins and the sultanas to the boil in the sherry.
  • Peel and grate the apples on the coarse blade. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the chocolate and the cinnamon.
  • Add the peel and the cherries.
  • Add the flaked almonds and the chopped hazelnuts.
  • Drain the fruit from the sherry and add the fruit.
  • Add the whole hazelnuts.
  • Beat the eggs with the caster sugar and stir into the mixture.
  • Add the ground almonds, the flour and the baking powder.
  • Add the sherry or brandy.
  • Stir well and pour the dough into your prepared cake tin.
  • Cook for approximately 2½ to 3 hours.
  • Test with a skewer to ensure it is cooked.
  • Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.
  • Make the syrup: heat all the ingredients together with 2 tablespoons of water until all the ingredients have dissolved.
  • Pour on the syrup and serve it as it is, or more traditionally decorate it with glace fruits and nuts.