The last slice of Christmas cake went at the weekend and as I'd got into the habit of tea and cake (and have been desperate to use my Kitchen Aid) it seemed only reasonable to bake something by way of a replacement. Ages ago I saw a recipe in Susannah Blake's 'Afternoon Tea Parties' which looked like it would fit the bill. It seemed perfect because it uses marzipan, glacé cherries, and ground almonds all of which I had bits of hanging around after Christmas baking. I was half tempted to use apricots instead of cherries as I had some of those hanging round as well but on reflection cherries were the right way to go.
The marzipan in this cake is brilliant, it managed to recall the eaten cake whilst being totally different (much lighter and therefore much easier to eat a big slice of) and the whole almond and cherry thing is always a winner. I'm showing a picture of what the cake would have looked like if it hadn't not been ready when the rest of dinner came out the oven and more than ready when dinner was finished and I remembered it again (oops) it still tasted great* - especially with a cup of tea. The recipe also came with a brilliant tip, my oven is old and it seems likely the thermostat is a bit off. Long story short the tops of slow baked cakes are generally a little on the crispy side by the time the cake comes out and somehow it had never occurred to me to put a bit of tin foil on top of them for the last 20 minutes of cooking time. It works however and it's something I'll remember.
Marzipan and Cherry Loaf
175g butter (room temp)
175g caster Sugar
175g self raising flour
85g ground almonds
175g glacé cherries
75g (chilled) marzipan grated.
A 2lb loaf tin lined, and oven at 180/gas 5
Mix the butter and sugar until light and creamy before adding the eggs one at a time and then the flour and almonds. Stir in the cherries. Put half the mix in the tin, sprinkle the marzipan on and top with the other half of the mix. Bake for about 45 mins then put a bit of foil on top and finish off for another 25 mins. Cool and eat.
*The cherries aren't burned/caramelised, they're posh Waitrose ones that come in an upmarket dark cherry colour. Honest.