This is one of my favourite cakes. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with adding marzipan to a cake but this twist on the traditional recipe really accentuates the gooey marzipan centre. The cooking of the fruit also means that you don’t need to leave this cake to mature and you can enjoy it immediately.
What could be better?
8oz dried sour cherries
6oz light soft brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
7oz plain flour
3oz ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
Put the cherries, sultanas, currants, sugar, butter, zest and juice of a lemon and orange, cinnamon, brandy and honey into a large saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted and then leave for 10 minutes. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Whilst your mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to gas 4/160 degrees (140 fan). Line a 8inch diameter, deep, round tin with 2 layers of baking parchment, leaving a couple of inches parchment poking up round the top of the tin to help avoid scorching the top of the cake.
Divide the marzipan into 2 and roll out one portion and cut a circle slightly smaller than the diameter of the tin.
After 30 minutes, add to the mixture the eggs, the flour, ground almonds and baking powder and mix. Place half of the mixture into the tin and smooth out. Place the circle of marzipan into the tin and then pour the rest of the mixture on top and smooth out.
Place into the oven and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours until springy to the touch. Check after 1 hour and 15 minutes and, if needed, place an extra piece of parchment over the top (to stop the top of the cake being burnt). Leave in the tin to cool completely.
Once cool, turn the cake out of the tin. Roll out the remaining marzipan and cut a circle to the diameter of the top of the cake. Jam can be used to help stick the marzipan to the cake and apricot is traditionally used but cherry jam works equally well here. Usually the cake is finished with 11 balls of marzipan around the perimeter of the cake, one for each of Jesus’ disciples (except Judas).