Christmas fruitcake with marzipan
Before the Christmas season started, I asked on my IG what recipes you would like me to share. Some of them were already on my website, others were planned among the ones I had in mind and others are still pending to be shared. But there was one that you asked me a lot, despite having several on my website, and it was a fruit cake. The truth is that I already had my eye on a recipe from Skye McAlpine, so I decided to leave you this Christmas fruit cake with marzipan.
The elaboration that I leave you is not the recipe she shares, although fruit cakes usually have a lot of similarities between them, but the decoration is based entirely on hers. From the first moment I saw it, I fell in love with it. I loved it so much. So, with her permission, I carried out the decoration following hers.
Although on my website you have several recipes for fruit cakes like this Fruit Cake, or the wonderful Simnel Cake (which could almost be first cousins both in process and presentation) or the famous Mary Berry’s Victorian Christmas Cake (which fascinates you), we are going to increase the recipe book with this Christmas fruit cake.
This time, I do not have an origin to tell you, not because it does not exist but because I already left it in this post. It is a recipe that despite being different from the others, shares its origin. So I invite you to read this post if you want to know how the famous fruit pies originated.
Making Christmas fruit cake with marzipan.
To differentiate this recipe from the others, I decided to modify ingredients and quantities. In this recipe we will use dehydrated and candied fruits, but in large quantities. The cake contains 935 g of both elements, so you can already guess, the result is an incredibly moist cake, full of texture and flavor.
We will use a great variety of fruits, not all of them are obligatory, not at all. In fact, if you don’t like any of them or you can’t find them easily, you can substitute them for others. What I do recommend is to keep the total weight of fruits for this cake.
Normally, the fruits are left to soak overnight. A liqueur or orange juice can be used in case you want to omit the alcohol. Traditionally Brandy is used, but to give the recipe a twist, I have used whiskey.
You can use the variety you want, in my case I have used Johnnie Walker Red Label and the reason is the combination of flavor that can be appreciated in it. This type of whiskey has spicy hints of cinnamon and pepper, along with a floral sweetness of fresh pears or apples. There are also notes of vanilla that invite a smoky and lingering finish. I found the contribution of this liqueur very interesting and I “risked” a little, but the result was extraordinary. In the maceration, I also used orange blossom water, I always useLuca de Tena, and water, to reduce a little the amount of alcohol and help all the fruits to be submerged or almost submerged.
To sweeten, on this occasion, I used panela and honey. The panela can be replaced by light or dark brown muscovado sugar, I advise you not to use normal white sugar. The final flavor changes a lot, in addition to the beautiful toasted color of the crumb of the cake. McAlpine’s recipe uses Black Treacle instead of honey, I think this ingredient adds a very, very interesting touch. But I figured it’s something you’re not going to have easily, so I didn’t incorporate it into the cake formula. But if you do have it, replace it with honey 🙂
Christmas means spices, undoubtedly. To achieve a Christmas aroma and flavor, as well as different from the rest of the recipes I left you, I formulated a cake with a variety of spices; ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, allspice, cloves, fennel, coriander and cardamom. You can use them in powder or in seeds, the quantities to use are those detailed in the list of ingredients.
Along with them, I added vanilla, lemon zest and concentrated orange paste. This last ingredient is a must in my baking pantry, I use it a lot. We achieve a very marked orange flavor and that is very different from an addition of orange zest or juice. Personally, I am never without it at home.
The final decoration, for me, is the most magical. A mix of overloaded vintage style that I love to the fullest. A marzipan disc is placed on the cake, this reminds us of the Simnel Cake, but unlike the latter, the surface of the marzipan is brushed with apricot jam. This step favors that, later, we can decorate with fruits and nuts and these remain attached.
For the decoration we will use pecan nuts and a lot of candied or candied fruits; cherries, pears, apricots, oranges… You can use whatever you like or have available.
The final result is a sponge cake that will leave you speechless… Very aromatic, moist and full of textures and flavors. It is worth each and every one of the minutes invested in its elaboration process. In addition, as the days go by, the flavor and aroma improve. One of those elaborations that taste “like Christmas”.
Recipe Christmas fruitcake with marzipan
- 250 g seedless raisins
- 250 g dehydrated cranberries
- 125 g candied red cherries
- 60 g candied orange
- 110 g dried apricots
- 70 g candied pear
- 70 g candied pumpkin
- 155 g whiskey or brandy + 45 g orange blossom water + 270 g water
- 210 g cake flour
- 60 g ground almonds
- 250 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 175 g panela
- 40 g honey
- 20 g orange paste concentrate
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest of one lemon
- 3 g powdered ginger
- 2 g cinnamon powder
- 1 g nutmeg powder
- 2 g allspice
- 1 g anise seeds
- 2 cloves
- 1 g fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 6 cardamom pods
- 10 g baking powder
- pinch of salt
- all the fruits
- 200 g ground almonds
- 185 g powdered sugar
- 10 g honey
- 33 g water
- 2-3 tablespoons apricot jam, chunk free
- 33-35 pecans
- 19-20 red candied cherries
- green candied cherries
- candied pear
- candied orange slices
- candied apricots
- anise stars
MATERIAL WE WILL NEED AND VISIBLE IN THE VIDEO:
- KitchenAid stand mixer*
- crystal bowl KitchenAid*
- push pan 20 cm diameter
- marble rolling pin*
- silicone spatula
- digital kitchen scale
- pestle and mortar
- knife (mine is Pallarés*)
- Microplane zester*
- pastry brush*
- Emile Henry salt cellar*
- cooling rack
- precision tweezers*, optional
*You have a 5% discount on the website Claudia&Julia using this code BAKESTREET. Delivers throughout Europe.
- Place the ground almonds, powdered sugar sugar, honey and water in a bowl. Mix together.
- Check the consistency of the marzipan and, if necessary, add a little more water. The almond paste should be manageable and not crumbly. The final amount of water will depend on the degree of drying of the almonds; the older they are, the more water they need.
- Form into a cylinder or disc, cover with cling film and leave to rest for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight in the fridge if it is hot, or at room temperature in a cool, dry place at home.
- NOTE: Remember to take the marzipan out of the cold for at least 2 hours before proceeding to work with it.
- In a bowl incorporate all the dehydrated and candied fruits.
- Pour the whiskey along with the orange blossom water and the water, mix so that all the fruits are soaked.
- Let stand for 8-12 hours. If they are a little longer, no problem.
- NOTE: The liqueur can be replaced by water or orange juice. If for some reason we forget to soak the fruits to hydrate them in advance or we cannot carry out the specified soaking time, you can heat the water or juice. The heat will help the fruits to hydrate sooner.
Prepare sponge cake.
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF/150ºC, heat up and down.
- Butter the inside of a 20 cm diameter springform pan and sprinkle with flour. Remove the excess. In my case, I lined the sides with baking paper because I have the feeling that the cakes rise better this way.
- In a mortar, grind all the spices that are in grain until pulverized.
- In the bowl of the KitchenAid, add the butter and sugar. Beat with the paddle until you get a creamy texture.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition.
- Incorporate the honey along with the orange paste and mix again to homogenize.
- Stir in the ground almonds along with all the spices, salt and vanilla.
- Begin to incorporate the flour along with the baking powder, little by little, while mixing. Remember that you should only mix until there is no flour left.
- Finally, add the lemon zest along with the rehydrated fruits, previously drained.
- Mix, with the help of a silicone spatula, until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
- Transfer the batter into the mold and smooth the surface, making sure it is uniform so that, after baking, it will be as straight as possible.
- Bake for 2 hours and 15 minutes or 2 hours and 30 minutes. After two hours of baking, I advise you to check the doneness of the cake. If it comes out clean when you insert a toothpick, it is ready.
- Remove from the oven and place the mold on a wire rack. Let stand for 20 minutes and remove from the mold.
- Turn upside down, that is, the base of the cake should be facing upwards, and let it cool on a rack. We do this to level the top and make it straighter.
- When the cake is cold, wrap very well in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until the next day.
Decorate with marzipan.
- Form a disc with the marzipan and stretch it with the help of a rolling pin to a diameter slightly larger than that of the mold. Make sure it has a uniform thickness, in case you find it difficult, you can use a adjustable rolling pin.
- Use the base of the mold as a template and, with the help of a sharp knife, cut off the excess.
- Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam, slightly heated. This will make it more fluid and you will be able to brush more easily.
- Place the marzipan disc and press gently to adjust.
- On the edges, if you wish, you can use a chopstick or similar utensil to achieve a textured edge. Or you can pinch the marzipan for a more decorative look, as I showed you in the Simnel Cake.
- Brush the top of the marzipan with apricot jam, so that the fruits and nuts adhere easily.
Garnish with candied fruits and nuts.
- Decorate the outer edge of the marzipan with pecans.
- Surround the inside edge of the pecans with candied red cherries.
- Finally, fill the inner hollow with candied fruit of your choice. If you wish, you can decorate with anise stars.
- I used a 20 cm diameter springform pan.
- The marzipan can be made and used on the same day, if desired. Letting it rest helps to enhance the aromas, as well as allowing the almonds to hydrate well.
- When you stretch the marzipan and see cracks forming, it is a sign that it needs more water. No problem, add a little more water, mix very well and stretch again. Be careful when integrating the water, do it little by little, kneading very well and observing how it behaves. You can always add more, but it is not easy to remove the excess. It can be done by adding more almonds and icing, but this would force us to calculate the quantities to maintain a good proportion.
- This marzipan does not require baking because it does not contain egg whites.
- For the cake I have used several types of dried and candied fruits. If any of them is not to your taste, you can substitute it for another variety. It is important to keep the final amount of fruit.
- The final amount of added fruits, for this cake, should be 935 g.
- In my case I have chosen to hydrate the fruits with Scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker Red Label, but you can use Brandy or in case you do not want to use alcohol, use orange juice or even water.
- The alcohol helps preserve the freshness and tenderness, as well as prolonging the shelf life, of the cake along with the fruits and nuts (ground almonds).
- I recommend hydrating the dried fruits, this will make the final result incredibly juicier. Otherwise, the fruits will absorb the little moisture that the cake may contain and the result will be a much drier product.
- Panela can be substituted by the mascabado sugar variety, either light or dark.
- The cake should be baked at a low temperature. If you wish, after the first 90 minutes, you can cover it with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much. In my case, I did not carry out this step.
- With the rest, the cake is much better. The flavors and aromas mature and the crumb becomes moister than when freshly baked. In fact, at the very least, I advise you to let it rest for 12-16 hours, well wrapped in plastic wrap, before decorating it.
- You can keep it wrapped in plastic wrap and, if you wish, in an airtight container, at room temperature for 7 days. It is possible that it will last longer, but I have not been able to check. If you refrigerate it, you can keep it for 3 weeks, but it must be very well wrapped to prevent it from drying out and, in this case, I advise to temper it 2-3 hours before eating.
- The candied or glazed fruits to decorate the cake are totally optional. You can adjust them to your taste.
I know that many of you are fascinated by this kind of cakes, but I understand you perfectly because they are fabulous... And I hope you like this Christmas fruit cake with marzipan as much or more than the previous ones.
Personally I have been in love with the result, not only in appearance (something that is obvious to me and again I thank Skye McAlpine) but because I have been pleasantly pleased with the formula of the cake. It is true that when we start from a base, which we know works, it is much easier to develop a new recipe. The fruit cakes all have the same formulation, but we can modify details to adjust it more to our tastes.
I am happy to tell you that, despite being a fruit cake, it is a very different recipe from all the previous ones I have left you.
I hope you will try it and let me know what you think!
By the way, I remind you that you can watch all my videos on my YouTube channel. If you subscribe and turn on the little bell, I will be eternally grateful!
I wish you a wonderful Sunday afternoon!
Lots of love,
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