Golden Apricot and Marzipan Loaf Cake
The combination of soft-dried apricots and chunks of marzipan produces a richly flavoured, moist loaf cake. It’s easily made by rubbing butter into flour and then stirring together with the rest of the ingredients, adding the diced marzipan to the mixture in the tin. The cake is pretty and special enough to bake in a round tin for a Golden Wedding celebration.
|For the cake mixture:|
|A good pinch||of salt|
|150g||unsalted butter, cool and firm, but not rock-hard|
|100g||golden caster sugar|
|2||large free-range eggs|
|½ tsp||vanilla extract|
|150ml||full-fat or semi-skimmed milk|
|2 tbsp||apricot jam|
|1 tbsp||boiling water|
|2 tbsp||flaked almonds|
You will need 1 x 900g loaf tin, about 26 x 12.5 x 7.5cm (or a 20cm round, deep cake tin), greased and the base lined with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces; add to the bowl and toss in the flour. Rub the pieces of butter into the flour between the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. (You can also do this stage in a food-processor.)
Stir in the sugar. Roughly chop the apricots or cut into small chunks with kitchen scissors. Add to the bowl with the sultanas and mix well. Beat the eggs with the vanilla and milk until thoroughly combined. Add to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to make a stiff cake mixture that should just drop off the spoon with a shake of the wrist.
Spoon one-third of the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Cut the marzipan into 1.5cm cubes and arrange half on top of the cake mixture. Cover with half of the remaining mixture, spreading it evenly. Arrange the rest of the marzipan cubes on this layer. Spread the rest of the cake mixture on top to evenly fill the tin.
Gently bang the tin on the worktop to get rid of any pockets of air.
Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (it’s best to test in several different places, because it’s hard to avoid the marzipan). Transfer the tin to a wire rack. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cake, then leave to cool for 15 minutes before carefully turning out and cooling completely on the wire rack.
To finish, gently warm the apricot jam with the water, stirring to make a sticky glaze. Brush this over the top of the cake. Scatter the flaked almonds over the cake. Leave to set. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.