Iced cherry and almond cake
Serves 12 | prep 1 hr | total time 2 hrs, plus cooling
For the cake
- 225g glacé cherries
- 200g self-raising flour, plus 1 tbsp extra
- 100g marzipan
- 150g soft unsalted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- a good grating of nutmeg
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 tbsp milk
For the icing
- icing sugar, for dusting
- 125g marzipan
- 3 tbsp apricot glaze
- 225g ready-to-use white fondant icing
- edible silver balls
- 10-15 fresh cherries
- 1 medium egg white, lightly beaten
- 125g caster sugar
Make and ice the day before. The cake can also be frozen, un-iced
- Preheat the oven to 160°C, fan 140°C, gas 3. Grease and line an 8cm-deep 23 x 9cm loaf tin with a strip of buttered nonstick baking paper. Roughly chop the glacé cherries, rinse in a sieve under warm water and dry thoroughly on kitchen paper. Dust in the tablespoon of flour and set aside. Dice the marzipan to roughly the same size as the cherry pieces and add to the cherries.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and caster sugar for a couple of minutes until pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs in thirds, adding a little of the flour after each third. Mix in the grated lemon zest.
- Sift the rest of the flour, baking powder, spices and a pinch of salt into the bowl. Add the ground almonds, chopped cherries, marzipan and milk and mix gently but thoroughly until combined.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and level the top. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then carefully transfer on to a wire rack. Leave until completely cold before icing.
- Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a neat rectangle the same size as the top of the cake – use the cake tin as a guide. Warm the apricot glaze, then brush over the top of the cake and lay the marzipan on top. Lightly brush the marzipan with the warm glaze.
- Roll the fondant icing out to the same size and cover the marzipan. Trim the edges of the icing and, using your fingers, crimp all around the edges to make a border. Then push edible silver balls around the edge and leave to dry for at least 30 minutes.
- Lightly brush the cherries (not the stalks) with the beaten egg white, coat in caster sugar and set asideon baking paper. Once completely dry, arrange on top of the cake.