Spring Fruit Cake

Spring Fruit Cake

I was never a fan of fruit cake, or raisins for that matter until I had this cake.  This was my “gateway” cake to sampling other fruit cakes, and liking them! It’s a lovely dense cake with lots of plump raisins, a rich layer of almond paste in the center and on top, with a bit of ginger in there to cut the richness. It’s nice with a cup of tea in the afternoon or even in the morning. It also makes an excellent Easter cake. I decorated the one in the photo with plastic flowers, but if you can find edible ones that would be even better.

Ingredients

Almond Paste

  • 1 cup + 2 TBSP ground almonds
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1.5 ounces crystallized ginger, diced finely
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 egg white, from a large egg

Cake

  • 1 cup white raisins
  • 1 cup regular raisins
  • 1.5 ounces crystallized ginger, diced finely
  • 1/2 cup strong hot tea (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup or honey
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup/1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 TBSP warm apricot jam

Decoration (Optional)

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Edible or plastic spring flowers

Instructions

Almond Paste

In a large bowl, stir together the ground almonds, sugar, and cornstarch. Add the egg white, stir and then knead until you have a smooth paste. Roll into a ball, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When the almond paste is chilled and firm, cut it in half. Keep the half you aren’t working with wrapped up. Dust your work surface with cornstarch and roll out one-half until it is just larger than the cake pan. Place the cake pan on top and use it as a guide to cut out a round shape. Place on a piece of parchment or wax paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat with the other half of the almond paste. Discard any leftover almond paste (you shouldn’t have much excess).

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f + butter and line the bottom and sides of the cake pan (7-inch wide, 3-inch deep round cake pan) with a double thickness of parchment paper (see notes).
  2. Mix the raisins and crystallized ginger in a bowl. Pour the hot tea over the fruit and stir in the corn syrup and ground ginger. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until smooth. Then, add the soaked fruit and all the soaking liquid and mix on low until fully incorporated.
  6. Spoon a little over half the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth over the top. Add one of the prepared almond paste rounds, then spoon over the rest of the cake batter and smooth it over.
  7. Cover the top of the cake pan tightly with kitchen foil. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven fro 1 hour, then remove the foil and bake for a further 30 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack until it is completely cold, then remove it from the pan and take off the parchment paper. Place the cake on a baking sheet.
  9. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the warm jam and place the other prepared almond paste round on top. Press gently to make it stick, and check to be sure it’s even and centered on the top.
  10. Preheat your broiler and place the cake in the center of the oven under the broiler until it’s lightly browned. Watch the cake, and rotate it if necessary to be sure it browns evenly. Once browned, remove the cake and leave it to cool.
  11. Once the top is completely cooled, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and plate into an airtight container for 1 week, or up to 3 weeks (or freeze for 4 to 6 weeks).
  12. When you are ready to serve, place the cake on a serving plate and dust the top with powdered sugar.

Decorate however you would like!

Makes 10 to 12 Servings

Notes

  • You really do have to use a double thickness of parchment (not wax paper) or the sides and bottom will get really dry, hard and overcooked.
  • You can use an 8-inch pan, but cooking times will vary.
  • Use one tea bag (black tea) & 6-ounces boiling hot water, steep for 4 minutes. Measure out 1/2 cup (4oz).
  • I decorated the cake with plastic flowers as I suggested in the ingredients section of this recipe, but it’s your cake so decorate it any way you’d like!