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Gorgeously Golden Fruit Cake

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

This is the fruity blonde sister to that brunette temptress, my chocolate fruit cake from Nigella Christmas. It delivers, as promised, a cake of apricot-pear-and-ginger goldenness and goodness, so squidgy and fresh-tasting, which comes perhaps not only from the amount of fruit in it, but also the lack of flour: this is a gluten-free treat for the greedy; fruit cake with the emphasis firmly on the first word.

The lack of flour makes for an exquisitely damp cake, but it does mean that unless you cut it into quite fat slices, it can break into fruity pieces rather than geometrically precise triangles. This is why it tastes so good of course. And, what’s more, it makes a fantastic pudding at the end of a seasonal supper.

This recipe is perfect for those of you who would prefer a change from the usual marzipan and icing covered Christmas Cake.

This is the fruity blonde sister to that brunette temptress, my chocolate fruit cake from Nigella Christmas. It delivers, as promised, a cake of apricot-pear-and-ginger goldenness and goodness, so squidgy and fresh-tasting, which comes perhaps not only from the amount of fruit in it, but also the lack of flour: this is a gluten-free treat for the greedy; fruit cake with the emphasis firmly on the first word.

The lack of flour makes for an exquisitely damp cake, but it does mean that unless you cut it into quite fat slices, it can break into fruity pieces rather than geometrically precise triangles. This is why it tastes so good of course. And, what’s more, it makes a fantastic pudding at the end of a seasonal supper.

This recipe is perfect for those of you who would prefer a change from the usual marzipan and icing covered Christmas Cake.

Gorgeously Golden Fruit Cake
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Makes: 10 fat slices

Metric Cups

For the Cake

  • 350 grams roughly chopped dried pears
  • 250 grams roughly chopped dried apricots
  • 250 grams golden sultanas
  • 175 grams soft butter
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 125 millilitres white rum
  • 200 grams ginger jam (or preserve or marmalade)
  • 225 grams ground almonds
  • 35 grams sesame seeds (or mixture sunflower & pumpkin)
  • seeds from 3 cardamom pods
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 large eggs

For the Topping

  • 75 grams whole blanched almonds

For the Cake

  • 1½ cups roughly chopped dried pears
  • 1¾ cups roughly chopped dried apricots
  • 1¾ cups golden raisins
  • 1½ sticks soft butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup white rum
  • ¾ cup ginger jam (or preserve or marmalade)
  • 2¼ cups almond meal
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (or mixture sunflower & pumpkin)
  • seeds from 3 cardamom pods
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 large eggs

For the Topping

  • ½ cup whole blanched almonds

Method

  1. Roughly scissor the pears and apricots into small pieces and put them into a saucepan with the sultanas, butter, sugar, rum and ginger jam or preserve, or indeed marmalade.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes and then leave to stand for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2/300ºF. Line the bottom and sides of a 20cm / 8 inch high-sided tin with a double layer of Bake-O-Glide or regular baking parchment; the lining should extend about 10cm / 4 inches above.
  4. Stir the ground almonds, sesame seeds (or a mixture), cardamom seeds and coriander into the cooled saucepan. Beat in the eggs and spoon into the prepared cake tin, smoothing the top.
  5. Starting in the middle, work in concentric circles as you place the blanched almonds on top of the cake batter in decorative rings (rather like a Dundee cake).
  6. Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave to cool completely in the tin. Once cool, take out of the tin, wrap with baking parchment then foil, before stashing it away in its cake tin or other airtight container. Though, unlike a traditional fruit cake, it doesn’t need to stand before being divinely edible.
  1. Roughly scissor the pears and apricots into small pieces and put them into a saucepan with the sultanas, butter, sugar, rum and ginger jam or preserve, or indeed marmalade.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes and then leave to stand for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2/300ºF. Line the bottom and sides of a 20cm / 8 inch high-sided tin with a double layer of Bake-O-Glide or regular baking parchment; the lining should extend about 10cm / 4 inches above.
  4. Stir the almond meal, sesame seeds (or a mixture), cardamom seeds and coriander into the cooled saucepan. Beat in the eggs and spoon into the prepared cake tin, smoothing the top.
  5. Starting in the middle, work in concentric circles as you place the blanched almonds on top of the cake batter in decorative rings (rather like a Dundee cake).
  6. Bake for 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave to cool completely in the tin. Once cool, take out of the tin, wrap with baking parchment then foil, before stashing it away in its cake tin or other airtight container. Though, unlike a traditional fruit cake, it doesn’t need to stand before being divinely edible.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Make the cake up to 1 week ahead and wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP: Make the cake and wrap as above. Freeze for up to 1 month. To thaw, unwrap the cake and thaw overnight at room temperature. Rewrap and store as above until needed.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Make the cake up to 1 week ahead and wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP: Make the cake and wrap as above. Freeze for up to 1 month. To thaw, unwrap the cake and thaw overnight at room temperature. Rewrap and store as above until needed.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • I am going to try this with a layer of marzipan baked in the middle as my Simnel cake this year ...

    Posted by Kate Adams on 6th March 2016
  • Wow - pear in a fruitcake? That's brilliant! How deliciously, wickedly non-traditional! I have to try this one this Christmas.

    Posted by HCH on 7th May 2013
  • Sounds delicious, though I would probably try dries apple instead of pear which I don't like, personally. But where is the alcohol? And presumably there's no reason not to do the whole marzipan, icing and decorating thing?

    Posted by althepal on 30th December 2012
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