I do love a fruit cake. Any type will do. It is not a cake I make very often because a sponge cake is so quick and easy to bake, and there are more variations you can make. However, when I saw that the theme for GBBO this week was Victorian and the baking categories were either a Game/Meat Pie, a Traditional Fruit Cake or a Charlotte Russe, I decided that a fruit cake was easier and more likely to be eaten, and would make a nice change.
I have never made a Simnel cake, but I like the idea of having a layer of marzipan running through a fruit cake, so I decided that for my cake this week I would do just this. I also decided to opt for a more traditional farmhouse style fruit cake, instead of a boiled one or a Christmas cake type one.
I have never made my own marzipan before, but figured with this being a bake along to the GBBO and the fact that I chose the easier category really, I thought now would be the time to make it. Having googled marzipan recipes, it didn’t actually look that hard, so I gave it a try.
175g caster sugar
280g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for kneading and rolling out
450g ground almonds – I ground my own whole almonds which is why my marzipan has a brown, gritty appearance
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange juice
Mix the sugars and almonds in a large bow
Make a well in the middle, and add the vanilla extract, the beaten eggs and the orange juice
Using a knife, cut the wet ingredients into the dry
Dust your work surface with icing sugar, and then lightly knead the marzipan briefly with your hands to a smooth dough – you will need too dust your hands with icing sugar too.
Add a bit more icing sugar if it seems too wet – I had to do this and apparently you must not over work the marzipan dough else it will become too greasy.
Finally, shape it into a ball, and wrap in cling film and keep in a cool place (I kept mine in the fridge) until ready to add to your cake (no more than 2 days)
Once your marzipan is made and chilled, making it firmer, you can make your cake.
Once the cake batter has been made, you need to roll out your marzipan on a dusted work surface (I used icing sugar again), and cut out a circle the same diameter as your cake tin
Pour in half of the cake batter, place the marzipan circle on top and then add the remaining batter and smooth over
Have a little helper on stand by to lick out the mixing bowl!
To make the Farmhouse Fruit Cake please read on:
- 350g mixed fruit
- 200g glace cherries
- 300g butter or margarine - I used Stork with butter
- 200g demerara sugar
- 450g self raising flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- extra demerara sugar for the topping - about 1 tbsp
- marzipan (see above)
- Pre-heat the oven to 150oC / 130oC (fan)
- Grease and line a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin
- cream the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes until pale and creamy
- add the eggs, the spices and a spoonful of the sugar and beat well for a few more minutes
- leaving about 2 tbsps of flour behind, add the rest to the batter by folding in
- mix the fruit with the leftover flour and then stir in
- pour half of the batter into the tin
- place the marzipan circle on the top
- add the remaining cake batter, smooth over and then sprinkle the extra demerara over the top and bake in the oven for about 1 hour 45 mins until cooked right the way through
- **adding the marzipan is optional, if you prefer your fruitcake to not have any then simple leave it out of the tin)
This cake was really lovely and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how well it rose, because I have to be honest, normally with a fruit cake it does not have much of a rise and sometimes it can even dip a little in the middle. However, his cake was perfect and not just to look at but it tasted divine! The sweet marzipan layer inside was really nice too, I mean this is an optional extra as the fruit cake alone would have been fine, but it was a nice little extra detail I think! I gave this to the mummies at the playgroup I used to volunteer at, and it all went and I have been asked to pass on the recipe! Praise indeed 🙂
I used Stork with butter for this recipe which is lovely and soft and creams so easily with the sugar. Stork is the perfect baking partner spread for your cakes and bakes whether they be inspired by the Great British Bake Off or not, and apparently even even Mary Berry herself has recommended using it. No wonder my cake turned out so well then 😉
Great Bloggers Bake Along
If you would like to bake along with me for the new series of the Great British Bake Off, then the rules are here and you can grab my badge on my homepage and on the rules page. I look forward to seeing what you come up with and remember that at the end of the bake off, I will be holding my prize draw where anyone who has linked up a new recipe throughout the 11 weeks can enter. It will only be open to #GBBOBloggers2015 – so there is a good chance of winning 1 of 3 prizes 🙂
On your marks, get set and baaaaaake
This week’s bake off linky is being hosted by Debbie, so please go and see what she has baked for Victorian week.
**Come back next Tuesday for the bake off round up, and to see who has been crowned Star Baker/s **
(linky opens 10pm tonight and ends at 8pm on Monday 21st September, 2015)
I was sent a voucher with which to purchase my Stork with butter.