Traditional British Easter Fruit Cake
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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Mix together the fruit, spice, sugar, milk and baking soda in a large pan.
- Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Leave the mixture to cool to luke-warm and then stir in the flour, salt and eggs.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 8” (20 cm) cake tin, double-lined with wax or greaseproof paper.
- Smooth the surface and form a slight depression in the center.
- 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).
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spread the top of cake with the apricot preserve.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut the marzipan into 3 equal pieces.
- Color one piece with the pink food coloring and knead it thoroughly.
- 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]).
- Fit the pink marzipan carefully around the edge of the frosting. Trim the ends, as necessary, and join them seamlessly together.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tie a broad ribbon or fit a cake band around the cake.
- 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).
If ready to roll frosting is not available, make a Royal icing using the following recipe.
- 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)
- Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl.
- Beat with an electric mixture set at Medium speed until the egg whites are frothy.
- Mix in half the powdered sugar.
- Mix in the remaining powdered sugar and the glycerine (if desired).
- Beat the mixture at high speed for 6-7 minutes.
- Spread immediately over the cake to be frosted; otherwise keep in an airtight container (the frosting dries out very quickly when exposed to air)