This is the traditional Easter cake. It’s lighter than a Christmas cake and, with the layer of almond paste in the middle, it always stays nice and moist. The eleven balls of almond paste on the top edge are said to represent the disciples (minus Judas). I usually use ready-made ” golden” marzipan for this, as it gives a great colour, but you could make your own if you prefer
225g unsalted butter, softened
225g dark muscovado sugar
225g self-raising flour
350g mixed dried fruit e.g. sultanas, cranberries, raisins etc.
150g glace cherries, rinsed, dried and halved
50g mixed candied peel
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
1 tablespoon black treacle
Filling & Topping
450g almond paste
2-3 tablespoons apricot jam
1 egg, to glaze
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150C.
- Line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat well with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, along with a little of the flour, to produce a soft mixture.
- Gently mix in all of the remaining cake ingredients, ensuring it is all thoroughly mixed.
- Spoon half of the mixture into the lined tin and level the surface. Take one-third of the almond paste and roll it out to a circle the size of the cake tin. Place this on top of the cake mixture and then spoon the remaining mixture on top of the almond paste and level the surface.
- Bake for approx. 2 hours, until the cake is well-risen, evenly brown and firm to the touch. Cover with foil after 1 hour if it is browning too quickly.
- When the cake is cool, brush the top with warmed apricot jam and roll out half of the remaining almond paste to fit the top. Press firmly onto the top of the cake and crimp the edges to decorate.
- Mark a crisscross pattern with a sharp knife and form the remaining almond paste into eleven balls. Brush the almond paste with beaten egg and then place the balls at even intervals around the top edge of the cake. Brush these with beaten egg as well and then place the cake under the grill for a few minutes, until golden brown. Keep a careful eye as it will brown in just a few minutes.