This is a traditional Easter cake, which certainly makes a great centrepiece for your Easter dinner table.
180g light muscovado sugar
3 large free-range eggs
250g plain flour, sifted
½tsp baking powder
60g ground almonds
300g mix of raisins, sultanas and currants
50g candied peel, chopped
zest 1 lemon
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp brandy
1 tbsp rum
1 small egg beaten
A couple of teaspoons of smooth apricot jam
Pre-heat the oven to 150 C fan oven. Prepare a 7 inch loose bottomed cake tin by greasing and double lining it. As the cake takes a while to cook, double lining helps to stop the cake burning on the outside.
Take the Marzipan and divide it into thirds. With 1/3rd of the marzipan roll it to the size of the cake and just put to the side. With another 1/3rd do exactly the same.
To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. This step may take a few minutes, so be patient. Then add the baking powder to the flour and stir to make sure it is evenly distributed. Turn your mixer to a slower speed and alternatively add the flour and the egg. This helps to stop the mix curdling. I add a small amount of egg, then a large tablespoon of flour until all the flour and egg has gone. Then fold in the almonds, mixed fruit, peel, lemon zest, mixed spice, milk, brandy and rum, taking care not to lose that air you have whipped into the cake.
Pour half of the cake mixture into the tin, then place the marzipan circle on top that you set aside earlier. Pour the remaining cake mixture on top. To make the cake level as possible, make a slight dip into the centre. Bake in the centre of an oven for around 1 hour 30 – 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes clean out of the cake. Let it cool in the tin slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.
Once cool you can then decorate the top of the cake. First glaze the top of the cake with apricot jam. This helps the top layer of marzipan stick to the cake. Gently place the other marzipan circle on top. You can crimp the edges like a pie, leave it smooth or even make lattice patterns on the marzipan it is your choice.
Take the remaining marzipan and roll into 11 balls. It is usually 11, to represent the apostles, Judas gets missed out, for obvious reasons. Take the beaten egg and just brush a little onto each marzipan ball and stick them to the top of the marzipan on the cake. You can leave the cake like this or a lovely touch which I sometimes do, is to glaze the cake top with the remaining beaten egg and then use my cooks blow torch on it for a few seconds. This gives a lovely golden colour to it.