icing sugar, sifted
egg yolk, beaten lightly
3 -4 tablespoons
milk, to mix
- CHECK LIST: a sifter, nest of bowls, food processor or electric beater, spatula, wooden spoon, 24 cm round cake tin, baking paper, brown paper and twine, rolling pin, thin metal skewer.
- STAGE 1.
- To make your own almond paste you will need a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Don't be tempted to use store-bought almond paste because it contains lots of sugar and few almonds, it will turn to liquid under the grill.
- Place icing sugar and almonds in food processor bowl. Process, slowly dripping in egg yolk, orange juice and almond essence. The mixture should form a pliable paste.
- Set aside a small portion for balls with which to decorate the cake.
- Roll out the remaining paste into 2 circles which are the approximate size of the tin. Set aside.
- STAGE 2.
- Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F.
- Use a sturdy non-stick cake tub or line the buttered base with baking paper. As the baking period is long (1-1 1/2 hours), prevent the cake drying out by wrapping a double thickness of brown paper around the pan and securing it with twine.
- Sift flour, salt and spices together, then stir in fruit and peel.
- Cream butter and sugar thoroughly until light and creamy then beat in eggs one at a time, until the mixture is fluffy. (Reserve a drop of egg yolk for brushing over top layer of almond paste.).
- Stir flour and fruit into creamed mixture (you may need to add a little milk to give the mixture a dropping consistency).
- STAGE 3.
- Place half the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin.
- Place one pre-rolled round of almond paste over the top.
- Cover with remaining cake mixture. Before baking the cake, give the pan of mixture a sharp tap on to a firm surface. This settles the mixture and prevents holes from forming in the cake.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a thin metal skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out without a trace of stickiness.
- Level the cake by placing a weighted plate on top of the cooked cake while it is still hot.
- Turn out cake on to a wire rack after leaving it to settle in the cake tin for between 10 and 15 minutes. Peel off paper and leave to cool completely.
- STAGE 4.
- Cover the top of the cake with a second round of almond paste. Roll 11 small balls of paste and place evenly around the top of the cake. Brush the top with a little beaten egg and very lightly brown under the grill until the almond paste turns light golden brown.
- Remove and leave to cool.