I’m not a huge fan of a traditional fruit cake at all but when I saw Mary Berry’ tennis cake (light fruit cake) on the Great British Bake off a couple of years ago I really liked the sound of it so thought I’d try it out. It is by no means a cheap cake to make – a lot of dried fruit and nuts makes it quite expensive, but sooo worth it. It was delicious, fruity and so moist.
My Husband and my Mum’s Birthdays fall within a couple of days of each other and they are both a huge fan of this Fruit cake, so I scaled up the recipe to make 2 x 6inch round cakes. They are both huge fans of marzipan which Mary Berry uses to decorate her cake with, but because I had a different idea of topping, I decided to roll out 2 x 6 inch circles of marzipan and put it in the middle of the cake before baking. To do this, all you need to do is half fill the tin with cake mixture, lay the circle of marzipan then place the other half of the mixture on top. This would work the same if you wanted to do it with the rectangular cake tin – just roll out the marzipan, place the tin on top and cut around so you have the right sized piece of marzipan.
To decorate, I had seen a really nice idea by Delia Smith which involved arranging pecan nuts and apricots, some decorated with gold edible lustre in a pattern.
Mary Berry’s Light Fruit Cake:
You will need a 9 x 6 inch rectangular cake tin
- 350g glacé cherries, cut into quarters
- 225g tin of pineapple in juice, drained and roughly chopped
- 350g ready to eat apricots, cut into quarters
- 100g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- 350g sultantas
- Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g caster sugar
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g self raising flour
- 75g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Grease a 9x6in rectangular cake tin. Line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.
Put the cherries in a sieve and rinse under running water then drain well. Dry the pineapple and cherries very thoroughly using kitchen paper.
Place all the fruits and nuts in a bowl with the lemon zest and gently mix together.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour to prevent the mixture curdling. Fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds. Lightly fold in the fruit and nuts then pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface.
Bake for 2 hours, or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil after 1 hour to prevent the top becoming too dark.
Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack