I hadn’t made fruit cake for years but remembered it being easy enough. However when choosing a recipe I found many that required days of steeping fruit in alcohol. Fortunately Nigella Lawson’s Marzipan Fruit Cake only required overnight soaking and the inclusion of cubes of marzipan in the cake sounded just the ticket.
Unfortunately I had a little accident with the first cake, I was engrossed in this blog post and scorched it. To be fair to myself, despite my cake being 25% larger than Nigella’s original version, it did not need as long a baking time as prescribed 2 to 2.5 hours so burning it in just under 2 hours came as quite a shock.
Siamese cat cake number two instead became a Delia Smith Sherry Mincemeat Cake with a few amendments. I was free to turn my attention to sugar craft versions of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp Siamese cats with sharp white triangles of coconut teeth and black licorice tails and whiskers.
My friend was delighted with her catty fruit cake but I couldn’t get Nigella’s marzipan cake out of my head. The open garden day was the ideal opportunity to remake it and this time I didn’t burn it. Although not the best looking item on the table it was first to disappear!
My version is larger than Nigella’s 20cm cake. I have also substituted alcohol with hot tea which requires an even shorter soaking time. Smoked almonds are a favourite snack round here so it made sense to pair the smokiness of lapsang souchong with almonds and marzipan. Regrettably, despite searching, I have never found Nigella’s dried pears so these have been replaced in my version with extra marzipan. If anyone knows where to buy dried pears in the UK do let me know.
This moist cake will keep for over a week in an airtight tin or can be frozen.
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Lapsang Souchong Marzipan Fruit Cake
Adapted from Marzipan Fruit Cake, How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
Serves 12-16 slices.
125g sour dried cherries
65g dessicated coconut
65g ground almonds
zest of 1 orange
220g plain flour
125g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1.5 tsp orange flower water
You will need a 25 cm or 8″ square tin greased and lined with baking parchment paper.
1. Cut the marzipan into 1.5 cm cubes and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
2. Make up the hot lapsang souchong tea with boiling water in a jug. Mix the sultanas and cherries in a large mixing bowl and pour over the tea. Leave to soak for 30-40 minutes and then drain the excess liquid away.
4. Beat together the almonds, orange zest, flour, butter, sugar and eggs. Add the drained fruit, orange flour water and cubes of marzipan and mix well.
5. Pour the cake mix into the tin and spread to the edges.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours. Keep an eye on it after 90 minutes and if the top looks done, cover with foil for the rest of the cooking time and maybe drop it to a lower shelf in the oven.