This lovely cake is crammed with fantastic fruit, making it moist and moreish. For ease and speed you can bake and decorate the basic cake in well under two hours, or take a bit longer and add a tasty topping and mid-layer.
Time: Basic cake: preparation 30 minutes, oven time 70 – 75 minutes + cooling. Layered version: at least another hour + lots of “fridge time” (but worth it).
Level: Reasonably easy
Tins: 1 x 20cm/8” loose bottomed round cake tin
- 175g/6oz softened butter or baking spread
- 175g/6oz caster sugar
- 100g/3.5oz plain flour
- 100g/3.5oz self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 100g/3.5oz glace cherries, chopped or quartered (+ more for decorating. See below)
- 100g/3.5oz raisins & sultanas
- 100g/3.5oz dried apricots, chopped (+ more for decorating. See below)
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 lemon – zest and juice from half
- 45ml/1.5fl oz buttermilk (or milk)
- Icing sugar to dust top
1. Preheat oven to 160°C / Fan 140°C / 325°F / Gas 3. Grease and line the tin and dust lightly with flour.
2. Sift the two flours and baking powder into a bowl.
3. Set aside 5 or 6 cherries and 6 or 8 apricot halves for use later as decoration. Cut the rest into quarters or smaller and mix into the flour. Add in the raisins and sultanas. Make sure everything is well coated with flour.
4. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Mix the vanilla extract into the beaten eggs then pour this into the butter/sugar mixture in 3 or 4 stages, adding a tsp of flour each time. Beat well after each addition.
5. Fold in the flour mixture with all the dried fruit. Stir in the lemon zest, juice and buttermilk/milk.
6. Pour the mixture into the tin. Tap the tin on your work surface a couple of times to settle it and remove any air bubbles, then level the surface. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes. Check at 60 minutes, using a skewer to see whether or not it’s baked. (If it comes out clean, the cake has baked.) Once baked, leave in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool.
7. Unless you intend making a filling and/or topping you could now decorate the top with the reserved cherries and apricots, either whole or in halves. (If necessary use a small smear of honey to stick the cherries onto the cake.) Dust with icing sugar before serving.
8. If you choose to have a filling let the cake fully cool before slicing it horizontally into two halves.
The following filling/topping mixture is what I made during a recent “lockdown” without going out to buy my first choice ingredients (double cream or Mascarpone). The mixture tasted fine, but was not ideal as it was too runny. You might want to consider the suggested changes below, or you might prefer a more conventional buttercream, possibly with apricot jam and cherries still added in.
Filling/Topping Ingredients (NB These amounts are flexible)
- 250g/9oz Ricotta (suggestion – replace with full fat cream cheese or mascarpone or whip some double cream)
- Approx. 400g/14oz icing sugar
- 100g/3.5oz apricot jam or apricot glaze (better – no bits)
- 5 – 6 glace cherries, finely chopped (leave out if you prefer a smoother mix)
9. Beat the Ricotta (or its replacement) for a few minutes. Sift and gently stir in the icing sugar then whisk it. Beat in the apricot jam and stir in the chopped cherries (if using). A couple of hours in the fridge, or overnight, should help to thicken the mixture.
10. Use half of your chosen mixture to combine the two cake halves. (Make sure you leave a flat surface uppermost.) Next, cover the top of the cake with the remaining mixture and add any other decorations. Put the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours, or overnight if possible.
Apology: I’m sorry for the vagueness of the filling/topping part of this recipe. One slight mitigating factor was that it was made during a difficult “lockdown” period, but hopefully the instructions and measurements above will be sufficient.