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A Passion for Baking
Serves 6 – 8

This is a fruit cake traditionally made at Easter, with eleven marzipan balls
said to represent all the disciples (except Judas). When I was explaining
this to Dylan, he looked at me in that sort of ‘Mum, you’re so simple’ way
and said, ‘Eleven disciples? Do you know anything?’

You will also need a 900g (2lb)
loaf tin, greased and the base
and ends lined with a strip of
buttered baking parchment

Posted by Constable & Robinson Published See Constable & Robinson's 7 projects » © 2024 Jo Wheatley / Constable & Robinson · Reproduced with permission. · Taken from A PASSION FOR BAKING by Jo Wheatley published by Constable in hardback at £16.99.
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
    Soak the dried fruit for 10 minutes in a bowl of boiling
    water. Sieve and pat dry with kitchen paper.

  • Step 2

    Cream the butter and sugars together until light
    and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing
    well between each addition. Using a large metal
    spoon, fold the flour and spice into the cake batter.
    Add the fruits, mixed peel paste, ginger and black treacle,
    and mix to thoroughly combine.

  • Step 3

    Roll 100g of the marzipan into a sausage the length of
    the tin, then flatten it into a rectangle with a rolling pin.
    Spoon half the cake mixture into a prepared loaf tin
    and lay the marzipan on top. Cover with the rest of
    the cake mixture and spread level. Bake on the middle
    shelf of the oven for 1 hour, then turn the oven down
    to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2 and bake for a further
    50–60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and
    a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin, then turn out
    onto a wire rack to cool completely. Warm the apricot
    jam and sieve to remove any lumps. Brush the top of
    the cake with the jam.

  • Step 4

    Divide the remaining marzipan into two equal parts.
    Divide one piece into 11 even sized balls. Using the
    cake tin as a guide roll the remaining marzipan into
    a rectangle the same size as the top of the cake. Place
    the marzipan on top of the cake, score diamonds into
    the surface and top with the marzipan balls.
    Place under the grill to gently colour the marzipan.

    Tip: Mixed peel paste
    I really like the flavour of mixed
    peel in my baking but I can’t stand
    the texture. So for years I have
    been processing mine to a paste,
    resulting in all the lovely taste
    and none of the pieces. Simply
    put a whole tub of mixed peel
    into a food processor and blend
    until you have a smooth paste.
    Store in an airtight box or jar
    for use as and when needed.

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