500gmarzipangluten free (see NOTES for link to homemade)
Soaked Fruit - AHEAD OF TIME
300gmixed dried fruit I used 150g sultanas; 75g currants; 75g raisins
50gchopped mixed peelI use Italian Mixed Peel
zest 1 orange and 1 lemon optional (finely grated)
120mlorange and lemon juice I use about 80 ml orange + 40 ml lemon juice
180gplain gluten free flour blendI use GFA rice free Blend B (see NOTES)
100gground almondsalmond meal
1tspxanthan gum(or 2 tsp psyllium husk)
1tspbaking powdergluten free
2 tspground cinnamon
1tspground mixed spice
pinchfine sea salt
220gunsalted butteror dairy free alternative
225gsoft light brown sugar
4large eggsUK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
1 egg whitebeaten with a fork
If making your own marzipan, make ahead of time and store as a block, wrapped tightly in baking paper and clingfilm, stored in the fridge.
Weigh the fruit into a large bowl and add the zest (if using) and fruit juice.
Soak for at least 4 hours (and preferably overnight) to hydrate, stirring occasionally.
Prepare the cake tin
Double line an 8 inch (20 cm) cake tin (at least 3 to 4 inches(8 to 10 cm) deep) with good quality non-stick baking parchment. (I cut a wide strip long enough for the circumference and fold it in half lengthways to make a double layer).
Also base-line the tin with 2 circles of parchment (pre-cut).
Pre-heat the oven to 160 C/315 F/Gas 2½-3.
Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside. (TIP: weigh into a large airtight container and shake vigorously).
Using an electric whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs together with a fork and then add little by little to the butter mixture, beating thoroughly between each addition.
Add the oil and whisk again.
Lastly, add the orange extract (if using) and beat through.
Add the dry flour ingredients to the bowl and fold through quickly and lightly with a large spoon or spatula.
Add the soaked fruit and zest and any remaining juice from the bowl to the mix and fold through again until evenly blended.
Transfer half the cake batter to the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
Using a plate (or another slightly smaller cake tin as a guide), roll out about ⅓ of the marzipan and cut a circle about 18 cm in diameter.
Carefully place the marzipan circle centrally on top of the first layer of cake batter.
Transfer the rest of the cake batter to the baking tin on top of the marzipan and spread evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 1½ to 1¾ hours until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean. Part-way through cooking cover the cake with a piece of foil to prevent the top burning. Keep a close eye so as not to over-bake as this will dry the sides of the cake.
Once baked, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorating the Cake with Marzipan
Warm the apricot jam in a small bowl in the microwave for a few seconds (or over a bowl of steaming water) to loosen.
Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the fruit cake with the warmed apricot jam.
Roll out just over half of the remaining marzipan (on a sheet of non-stick baking paper) and (using the base of an 8 inch (20 cm) cake tin as a guide) cut out a circle.
Position the marzipan circle evenly on top of the jam on the cake.
Crimp the edge of the marzipan using your fingers to make the edge pretty (optional).
Lightly beat an egg white with a fork and brush a light layer on top of the marzipan circle.
Take the remaining marzipan and roll into 11 even-sized balls (representing the 11 apostles of Christ, minus Judas) and arrange evenly around the top outer edge of the cake (the egg white should help them to stick in place).
Give the marzipan balls a light brushing with egg white too.
To finish, use a culinary blow-torch to lightly brown patches of the marzipan (until just starting to bubble). Do this carefully so that it browns rather than burns. (If you don’t have a blowtorch, place the cake under a gentle grill for a few seconds, but keep a close eye and turn as needed).
* Note: nutritional information is an estimate & may vary according to portion size/ingredient variants.Gluten Free Alchemist Flour Blend B can be found on the GFA Flours & Flour BlendingPage. If using an alternative flour (particularly one which is heavily rice-based), the texture may be slightly different and more liquid may be required.Link for easy Homemade Marzipan.