Marsala-soaked fruit cake
- November 2014
- Serves about 30
- Hands-on time 25 min, oven time 3½-4 hours, plus overnight soaking
This Christmas cake, with sweet masala-soaked figs, cherries, currants and sultanas, is lighter than a traditional recipe.
- 278 kcals
- 11.2g (5.9g saturated)
- 40.9g (33.5g sugars)
- 400g sultanas
- 250g currants and raisins
- 250g glacé cherries, chopped
- 250g dried figs, chopped
- 50g mixed peel
- 6 tbsp sweet marsala or sweet sherry, plus extra for pouring
- 300g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease (see tips)
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- ½ nutmeg, grated
- 10 green cardamom pods, seeds finely crushed, pods discarded
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 250g light muscovado sugar
- 5 medium free-range eggs
- 2 tbsp black treacle
- Grated zest 1 lemon
- Grated zest 1 orange
- 30g each hazelnuts and almonds, finely chopped
- Mix the dried fruit and peel in a large bowl with the 6 tbsp marsala/ sherry. Cover and soak overnight.
- Heat the oven to 140°C/fan120°C/ gas 1. Grease a deep 23cm diameter cake tin, line with a double layer of baking paper, then grease the paper. Put the remaining ingredients, except the nuts, in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until well combined. Stir in the nuts along with the soaked fruit and peel, adding any liquid from the bowl.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top, then cover with another disc of baking paper. Bake for 31⁄2-4 hours until firm to the touch and a skewer pushed into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.
- Discard the baking paper disc and poke several holes into the top of the cake with a skewer, then pour over a couple of extra tablespoons of marsala/sherry and leave to soak.
- Remove the cake from the tin and wrap in baking paper and foil – or slice and serve (see make ahead).
You can leave the cake to mature until Christmas (feed it with more booze now and then) or, if you prefer something a little less rich, eat it straightaway.
Make the cake dairy free by leaving out the butter and greasing the tin with sunflower oil. The cake will be firmer but will still taste fantastic.
Wrap the baked cake in more baking paper, then foil. Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months. Unwrap occasionally to feed it with marsala.
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