Traditional British Easter Fruit Cake

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Special feasts, of which probably the most colorful is Easter Fruit Cake.

Easter Fruit Cake

  • 3 cups (1 lb / 454 g) of mixed dried fruit
  • 1 cup (5 ½ oz / 150 g) of candied or glacé cherries (quartered)
  • 2/3 cup (4 oz / 110 g) of dates, chopped
  • 1 stick (4 oz / 110 g) of butter
  • ¾ cup (5 oz / 150 g) of packed dark brown soft sugar
  • ½ tsp (2.5 g) of baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5 g) of mixed spice
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 oz / 300 ml) of milk
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz / 350 g) of self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) of apricot preserve
  • 8 oz (225 g) ready to roll white frosting
  • 9 oz (250 g) of white marzipan or almond paste
  • A little powdered sugar
  • 2-3 drops of pink food colorings
  • 2-3 drops of green food colorings
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Mix together the fruit, spice, sugar, milk and baking soda in a large pan.
  3. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Leave the mixture to cool to luke-warm and then stir in the flour, salt and eggs.
  5. Pour the mixture into a greased 8” (20 cm) cake tin, double-lined with wax or greaseproof paper.
  6. Smooth the surface and form a slight depression in the center.
  7. Bake in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 45 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 300°F (150°C) and cook for a further 50 minutes until the cake is cooked (a skewer pushed into the center of the cake comes out clean).
  8. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Spread the top of cake with the apricot preserve.
  10. Sprinkle the work surface with a little powdered sugar. Lay the ready to roll frosting on this and sprinkle over a little more powdered sugar.
  11. Gently knead the frosting before rolling it out into a circle to cover the top of the cake leaving a border ¼” (6mm) wide around the edge to accommodate the pink marzipan.
  12. Cut the marzipan into 3 equal pieces.
  13. Color one piece with the pink food coloring and knead it thoroughly.
  14. Measure the circumference of the cake with a string and roll out the pink marzipan to the same length as the string (approx. 25¼” [64 cm]).
  15. Fit the pink marzipan carefully around the edge of the frosting. Trim the ends, as necessary, and join them seamlessly together.
  16. Color the second piece with the green food coloring and roll it out to the same length. Roll out the third piece to the same length but leave it uncolored.
  17. Twist the second and third pieces together and cut it into 3 equal pieces to lay across the top of the cake from edge to edge of the pink strip like the spokes of a wheel, creating six segments in the top.
  18. Tie a broad ribbon or fit a cake band around the cake.
  19. Alternatively, divide the marzipan into three equal parts and color as above. Form each piece of marzipan into small eggs and decorate the top of the cake with circles or a spiral of different colored eggs (small candied eggs or multi-colored chocolate candies could be substituted for the marzipan).

Note

If ready to roll frosting is not available, make a Royal icing using the following recipe.

Royal Icing

  • 3 large egg whites
  • ½ tsp (2.5 g) of cream of tartar
  • A 16-oz (454 g) package of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 g) of glycerine (optional for a softer frosting)
  1. Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl.
  2. Beat with an electric mixture set at Medium speed until the egg whites are frothy.
  3. Mix in half the powdered sugar.
  4. Mix in the remaining powdered sugar and the glycerine (if desired).
  5. Beat the mixture at high speed for 6-7 minutes.
  6. Spread immediately over the cake to be frosted; otherwise keep in an airtight container (the frosting dries out very quickly when exposed to air)