Friday, 1 November 2013

Brandied Almond Fruit Cake

Brandied Almond Fruit cake
I'm not a fan of fruit cake, except one amazing dark chocolate fruit cake my mum makes (recipe at a later date). That was until I realised that the shop bought ones, covered with thick layers of icing and marzipan, have tainted my opinion of fruit cake.

I'm not a fan of tradition for tradition's sake; in my opinion there's no intrinsic value in tradition. So this cake is great; its a twist on a traditional fruit cake, sandwiching a layer of marzipan between layers of dark and light fruitcake. And while nuts are often added to recipes for texture, here their flavour makes the cake, particularly that of the pecans and almonds, as does the small amount of dark chocolate in the base layer.

And I almost forgot, the one pictured here is gluten free! You can make it either way, but the small ratio flour to fruit makes this one great if you're not a big fan of the texture gf flour gives to cakes.

Brandied Almond Fruit cakeThe cake takes a full two hours to cook, and it is important to do so at a low temperature, as at a high temperature the fruit may scorch and develop a bitter taste.

I'm usually too impatient to line a baking tin properly, but here it is important to line the base with two layers of paper, again to prevent burning.

NB: There are a few changes I've made to the recipe. The almond flavour from the marzipan was wonderful but too subtle, so I've increased that by 100g. I've also made currants optional, as they're not to my taste. Secondly, for the life of me, I can't understand why the recipe asks that the fruits on the bottom layer are soaked and are not on the top layer. Similarly, the butter, sugar and eggs are beaten together on the bottom layer, while this is done in stages for the top (which works much better). At first I thought this was to make the bottom layer more dense so the two would not mix, but they're separated with marzipan anyway! So I've changed that.

NB: Dried/glacé pineapple is very expensive in the UK, so next time I'll try using canned pineapple, which will give the cake a shorter shelf life, but you can always freeze it, and I think the cake can tolerate a bit of extra moisture.

You could feed it with more alcohol to mature the cake, and this might particularly help if you're using gluten-free flour, in order to moisten the texture.

Brandied Almond Fruit cake

Brandied Almond Fruitcake

Keeping time: one month. 

Dark Layer 


    1 cup (250g) chopped glacé pineapple, or tinned, well drained and chopped
    1 1/2 cups (250g) sultanas
    1/2 cup mixed peel
    1 cup halved glac
é cherries
    60g butter
    3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

    3 eggs
    3/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
    60g dark chocolate, grated
    3/4 cup plain flour (or gluten-free)
    1tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    300g roll almond paste (or more) 


Light Layer

   125g butter
   1 cup castor sugar
   3 eggs
   1 1/2 cups plain flour
   1/2 cup brandy
   3/4 cup sultanas
   1/2 cup mixed peel
   1 cup halved glacé cherries
   1/4 cup (60g) chopped glacé pineapple or tinned, well drained and chopped
   1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts
   3/4 cup slivered almonds, plus extra for top

  1. Combine fruit and brandy for the dark layer in large bowl, over; stand overnight. Do the same for the fruit and brandy in the light layer.
  2. Grease a deep 23cm square cake pan, line base and sides with 2 layers of paper.
  3. Dark Layer: Cream butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time; beat until combined. Stir in hazelnuts and chocolate, then sifted dry ingredients. Stir in fruit mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  4. Light Layer: Cream butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time; beat until combined. Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in half the sifted flour and half the brandy, then remaining flour, brandy, fruit and nuts.
  5. Roll out almond paste on lightly sugared surface large enough to cover dark layer, spread evenly with light layer. Bake at 150 degrees celcius for 2 hours. Cover tightly with foil; cool in pan.



  1. I am sure it is a super rich Christmas cake with all the nuts in it.
    Thank you for linking it to my event .
    Do link back to the announcement page.

    1. Yes Shey, even more rich using non-gf flour. I've now linked back. Thanks a bunch for hosting the event.


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