I wanted cake. I needed cake.
Supermarket cakes just won't do. On the occasion when I've wanted a small celebration cake and haven't had chance to bake, the resulting bought cake has not been too my liking. Too sweet, not moist enough and usually too much sickly sweet butter icing.
Flicking through some of my favourite cake recipes and baking books I thought I'd bake a Cherry and Almond Cake. I knew there was a tub of glace cherries in the cupboard and I always have a block of butter in the fridge for impromptu baking.
When it came to gathering ingredients, I discovered the glace cherry tub was already opened so I wouldn't have enough. Hmm...what to do? I found some dried apricots and so, Cherry, Almond and Apricot Cake was born!
Cherry, Almond and Apricot Loaf Cake
200 g butter (softened, but not melted)
175 g caster sugar
75 g ground almonds
Few drops of almond extract (optional if you like a stronger almond flavour, swap for vanilla if you prefer or omit)
3 large eggs
200 g self-raising flour
100 g glacé cherries (quartered)
100 g dried apricots (snipped into quarters or sixths)
Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is lighter in colour and fluffy. (I like to do this by hand in a bowl and a wooden spoon as I find a hand-mixed cake has a lighter texture than if I use my stand-alone mixer.)
Add the ground almonds and the almond extract if using and mix in before adding eggs in one by one and mixing until just combined. With the last egg, add a tablespoon from your measured flour when you are mixing it in. It stops mixture from curdling which can result in a dense and heavier cake.
Toss the cut dried fruit with a tablespoon of your measured flour. This stops the fruit from sinking.
Sift the flour into the cake mix and fold in with a large metal spoon.
Tip in the fruits and the remaining flour if any and fold in.
Spoon mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin (mine is a 2lb loaf size) and bake in a preheated oven at 170 deg C, Gas 3 for 70 minutes. Cake should be well rise, golden and spring lightly when pressed with a finger. If the cake wobbles in tin, then it is not ready. Test cake with skewer ensuring no wet crumbs.
Cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
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Cake was wonderfully moist from the ground almonds as well as being rich and creamy from the butter. I think next time I might reduce butter to 175 g as some fruit still sank in my cake :p I wonder if that's because when you are spooning mix in, the fruits tend to go in first and when I scrape bowl clean with spatula, its plain cake mix that tops the cake off?
My son loves this cake - although he won't eat the fruit. :p This cake disappeared in 2 days so I tried to make a similar cake with vanilla, white choc chips and fudge bits. It didn't work. The choc and fudge bits sank to the bottom and resulted in a chewy and sweet bottom layer :p Son still ate it but hubbs (Mr Leaf) didn't take extra helpings. The cake took longer to disappear too :p