Grape and Almond Loaf Cake

A colourful, tea-time loaf with a novel combination of flavours that do work well together. The sponge is light and moist and the topping is striking as well as tasty.

Serves:           8 – 10

Time:             2hr 15 min + cooling time

Difficulty:     Reasonably straight-forward

Equipment:    A 900g/2lb loaf tin + paper liner; an electric mixer (recommended, but not essential)


  • 175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g/5½oz caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 150g/5½oz self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100g/3½oz ground almonds
  • 200g/7oz seedless black grapes, halved
  • 70g/2¾oz seedless black grapes, halved
  • Up to 100g/3½oz icing sugar
  • About 30g/1oz flaked almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 160C/fan 140C/Gas 3. Have ready a 900g/2lb loaf tin (Either grease and line it or – much easier – simply insert a paper liner.)
  2. Sift the flour into a medium bowl then add in the salt and ground almonds. Stir well to mix. Set aside for now.
  3. Lightly beat the three eggs in a bowl and add in the almond extract. Also set aside.
  4. Cut the grapes in half and toss them in a tablespoon of flour to cover each one.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 – 4 minutes using an electric beater.) In 3 – 4 stages, add in the eggs with a tablespoon of the flour mixture, beating well after each addition.
  6. Fold the rest of the flour mixture into the wet mixture then stir in the floured grapes, distributing them as evenly as possible.
  7. Spoon or pour into the prepared loaf tin and level the top. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the tin for 15 – 20 minutes then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack.
  9. Place the 70g of halved grapes in a small roasting tin with 2 tbsp water. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until soft but still holding their shape, then remove onto a plate. (Don’t pour away the liquid.)
  10. Add another tablespoon of water (preferably warm) to the roasting tin and scrape up the purply grape juices with a spoon*. Gradually sift in the icing sugar to form a thick but spoonable icing. (*If it doesn’t give the desired purple colour or enough liquid you may have to cheat and add more water plus a small amount of food colouring, e.g. grape violet.)
  11. Spoon the icing over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides randomly. Decorate with the cooled roasted grapes and flaked almonds. Leave to cool fully before cutting.