I’ve been brushing up on my ‘big cake’ baking recently, I find it a bit tricky to get just right and, well, everybody likes cake. I took this recipe from this month’s Olive Magazine, but being me, I couldn’t quite leave well alone. On first glance, the idea of baking a lump of marzipan into it seemed like a recipe for having a lot of raw cake batter in the middle, but the slow cooking meant that it melted nicely. It met with unanimous critical approval so I’ll be doing it again. The magazine suggested that it serves 8 but we got 15 good sized portions out of it. I used a standard circular cake tin, but a loaf or square tin would work too.
Cherry and Almond Cake
Serves at least 12
225g unsalted butter
250g whole glace cherries, soaked overnight in 3 tablespoons of Kirsch or another Eau de Vie
225g self raising flour
115g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 150C if it’s fan assisted, 170C if not.
Prepare your tin with a double layer of parchment. I used a circular tin with removable base and used some geometry to cut two circles of parchment from the roll, cut a rough square, carefully fold it into a triangle then hold the point in the middle of the tin and trim the edge so it unfolds into a kind of circle.
Roll out the marzipan between the two parchment circles so that it’s half a centimetre away from the edge
Zest the lemon and cream it with the butter and sugar with an electric whisk for a few minutes until it’s pale and light. Whisk in the eggs, almonds, flour and the juice of half the lemon.
Now for the messy part, assembling it.
Place half of the batter in the bottom of your tin. Take about 100g of the cherries and arrange them in a circular pattern across the batter, these will support the layer of marzipan that you put on top next. Try to avoid too many air gaps. Put another 100g of cherries on top of the marzipan in a wider circular pattern (so that you get one or two per slice) and fill up with the rest of the batter.
Bake it for 50 minutes and then keep checking it every 10 minutes to see if it’s done. Mine took 80 minutes, but that was about 10 minutes too long. It’s done when the middle of the cake springs back when you touch it and when a skewer comes out clean (give or take the gooey marzipan)
Leave it to cool for 20 minutes before turning it out of the tin to cool completely.
I iced mine by mixing about 100g of icing sugar with the left over cherry syrup and kirsch and about a tablespoon of cold water so that the icing just coated the back of the spoon. I then topped it with sliced cherries.