Pan forte simply means strong bread, a decadent slice that gets better over a week or two making it the ideal cake to take away on holiday or give as a gift to be enjoyed after the excesses of Christmas have worn off. This one uses white chocolate and is ideal for those who don’t like or can’t eat dark chocolate.

Ready in: 1 ½ hours
Makes: 1 20cm cake

½ cup blanched almonds
70 g pistachios
¼ cup mixed peel
1 cup dried figs coarsely chopped
1 cup dried apricots coarsely chopped
Zest of an orange
¾ cup plain flour
½ teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
70 g unsalted butter
100 g white chocolate
¼ cup castor sugar
¼ cup runny honey

Pre heat oven to 170°
Grease and line a 20 cm cake tin or 2 x 10 cm tins.
In a mixing bowl combine the nuts, fruit, peel, zest, flour, cardamom and cinnamon.
In a small saucepan combine the butter, chocolate, sugar and honey and heat very gently until melted, mix to combine then pour into the bowl with the nuts and fruit.

Stir until thoroughly mixed and pour into the prepared pan. Smooth over the surface and bake for 1 hour or until firm and set when the centre is pressed. Cover the top with baking paper in the last ½ if needed to prevent over browning.

Allow the cake to cool before turning out. When cool wrap the cake in foil and store in a cool place.
Pan forte can be eaten immediately but is at its best when about two weeks old. Dust with icing sugar and serve in thin slices with coffee or ice cream.