For the Date and Marmalade Christmas Cake could I substitute the black tea with either a fruit tea or orange juice? Also, do the chopped almonds have skin on or off? Thanks.
Nigella's Date And Marmalade Christmas Cake(from AT MY TABLE) is a gluten-free rich fruit cake that is good at any time of year. The fruits are cooked with black tea as this helps to hydrate them and also helps to break down the dates a little. Black tea is often used in fruit cakes as it helps to bring out the flavour of the fruits and the tannins in the tea offset some of the sweetness. You could probably use a fruit tea as an alternative, though bear in mind that some varieties are quite sweet and could make the cake slightly cloying. We would avoid using orange juice as it could make the cake too sweet. Our preference would be to use a black tea (caffeine-free versions are available, if necessary) for the cake.
Blanched (skinned) almonds and ground almonds (made with blanched almonds) are the type most readily available in the UK, so we tend to use these in the cake. But skin-on (raw) almonds and almond meal (made with skin-on almonds) will also work fine in this recipe, so you can use whichever you prefer and are easiest to find.