APRI­COT AL­MOND EASTER FRUIT­CAKE

Cheshire Life - - Food News -

In­gre­di­ents

For the cake

120g sul­tanas; 3 tbsp brandy; 200g un­salted but­ter; 200g soft light brown sugar; 1 tsp vanilla ex­tract; 3 medium eggs – approx. 130g with­out shell; 160g plain flour, sifted; 1 tsp bak­ing pow­der; 80g ground al­monds; 40g toasted flaked al­monds; 120g dried apri­cots – chopped into small chunks; 100g mixed peel; zest and juice of a lemon*; zest and juice a small orange* (*com­bined liq­uid mea­sure­ment = 85ml)

Marzi­pan cake cov­er­ing

150g ic­ing sugar (plus ex­tra for knead­ing/rolling); 125g ground al­monds; 1 medium egg white 30g; 1 tbsp apri­cot jam

Method

Pre-heat oven to 160C/140C fan (160C on oven ther­mome­ter), grease and line the base and sides of an 8-inch spring­form loose-bot­tomed deep cake tin. Soak the sul­tanas and apri­cots in brandy for at least a cou­ple of hours.

In a free­stand­ing mixer, beat the but­ter, sugar and vanilla un­til pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beat­ing thor­oughly be­tween each ad­di­tion. Stir in the sifted flour, bak­ing pow­der and ground and flaked al­monds. Next add the brandy-soaked fruit, mixed peel and the zest and juice of the lemon and orange. Beat once more on a low speed un­til the fruit and nuts are evenly dis­trib­uted. Scrape into the cake tin, smooth­ing the sur­face.

Bake in the oven for ap­prox­i­mately 1 hour 15 mins.

While the cake is in the oven, pre­pare the marzi­pan. Mea­sure out the ic­ing sugar and ground al­monds into a food pro­ces­sor, blitz un­til very fine – puls­ing to avoid re­leas­ing too many oils from the al­monds. Add the lightly whipped egg whites to the pro­ces­sor and con­tinue to mix un­til it starts to come to­gether. Re­move from the pro­ces­sor and knead un­til well com­bined. Wrap in cling-film and pop in the fridge for at least 1 hour un­til ready to use.

Check the cake is cooked by in­sert­ing a skewer into the cen­tre – it should come out clean. If the skewer comes out with any un­cooked mix­ture stuck to it, re­turn to the oven for a fur­ther 10 mins. Once baked, al­low to cool in the tin.

Once com­pletely cooled, re­move the cake from the tin. To dec­o­rate, first place a ta­ble­spoon of apri­cot jam in a saucepan and gen­tly heat. Mean­while, re­move the marzi­pan from the fridge, dust your work sur­face with ic­ing sugar and roll out the marzi­pan to a thick­ness of ap­prox­i­mately 5mm. Us­ing the base of your 8-inch tin, cut out a neat cir­cle, pop to one side. Gather up the re­main­ing marzi­pan, knead lightly back into a ball, be­fore pinch­ing off 11 chunks weigh­ing approx. 10g and rolling into neat round balls. Once the apri­cot jam is warm, use a pas­try brush to lightly spread across the top of the cake, place the disc of marzi­pan on top and crimp the edges as de­sired. Next ar­range the 11 marzi­pan balls atop the cake, se­cured with an­other light dab of the apri­cot jam. Add fur­ther or al­ter­na­tive dec­o­ra­tions as de­sired.

The cake should keep dec­o­rated, or wrapped in grease­proof pa­per/tin foil, and stored in an air-tight con­tainer for at least a week.

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