BAKE NUMBER 2 – DECORATED FRUIT CAKE
300g ground almonds
150g caster sugar
150g icing sugar
splash of water
700g dried mixed fruit
175g soft or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
225g plain flour
50g ground almond
1 tspn baking powder
½ tspn cinamon
1tspn ground ginger
3 tbsp milk or water
zest of 1 lemon and/or orange (this is optional)
Small amount of apricot jam
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas 3. Line and grease a 20cm springform tin bottom and sides well. I prefer to use foil lined parchment for this as it helps protect the cake and reflect a little of the heat away from the sides whilst it is cooking.
- Make the marzipan (yes, you! It’s easier to make than pastry!) Put the almond in a large bowl, stir in the caster and sieve in the icing sugar, stir together. Add a couple of tablespoons of water at a time, using your hands, gather the mixture together until it forms a dough. It should resemble modelling clay, neither dry nor soft; if it’s too dry add a touch more water, too soft then add a little almond and sugar. Put this in the fridge to firm up. Alternatively use shop bought!
- Chop any larger pieces of fruit small so that all the fruit is fairly uniform in size. Cream together the butter and sugar (by hand or machine) then you can either work in the eggs one at a time or simply add all the ingredients together in the processor, except fruit, and give it a short whizz to incorporate all the ingredients. Stir in the fruit.
- Tip ½ of the mix into the cake tin and smooth down the surface. Take just under ½ of the marzipan and roll into a circle (or square if you are using a square tin!) the same size as your tin. Pop this onto the cake mix and pat down. Pour the remaining mixture onto this and again level down.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Check the cake at this stage, it could need up to another 30 minutes more cooking time.
- Remove and allow to cool fully. Reserving a good sized knob for decoration, roll out your remaining marzipan to the same size as the cake.
- Glaze the top of the cake with apricot jam mixed with a little warm water, put the marzipan on the top of this then decorate any way you wish with the reserved knob, using the jam mix as ‘glue’. if you have one, blow torch the top a little to give it bit of colour.
- Put the kettle on and enjoy with a cuppa and friends!
TIPS – When making marzipan don’t overwork it as it the oil will leach out of the almonds, let it rest in a cool place (pantry/fridge) in-between making and using. One of the main reasons i started making almond paste was that i don’t like commercial stuff, it just tastes odd, so when a family member wanted me to make them a Battenberg cake i looked up how to make it, there’s severeral ways – a whole egg, just egg white, just egg yolk, all caster sugar, all icing sugar – so i tried the best way to suit me, i make it with water for a paler paste or with a whole egg for a nice yellow one (as my hens are cornfed their yolks are almost luminous!) Choose which ever method works for you as long as the sugar and ground almond ration is 50:50.
One of the other reasons i started ‘making my own’ was my absolute loathing of currents and dislike of raisins and peel, so the fruits i use are a little off the traditional (dried cherry, pineapple, blueberry, mango, golden berry, figs and prunes) again it’s what works for you and the thing i love about cooking and baking is that you can take any recipe you like and adapt and change it to suit you or the person you are making it for; and the more you cook and bake, the more you can do this. I too am a ‘self taught’ cook I certainly didn’t learn anything from my mother. I remember when i was little that i wanted her to bake a cake with me; next time she went to the local supermarket and bought me a box of cake mix and a cake tin and left me to it! I was always the independent type so not in the least bit fazed and was cooking the family sunday lunch (unsupervised) by the time i was 12!
Don’t forget it’s not too late to join in with the Great British Blog Off. Head over to Jenny’s blog http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk for the rules and regs and to register your blog site. Plus you will need to put this weeks’ blog onto Debbie Johnson’s blog at http://www.anorganisedmess.com to be judged for star baker!! Good luck and happy blogging.