For me, this is one of those bakes that I was just so so excited for it to come out of the oven. Baking in a daze following a night of watching star wars at midnight, I just couldn’t wait to curl up, eat a slice and get the much needed comforting sugar kick I was after. What made it more infuriating was I had to wait for the cake to cool before I could get it out the tin, dust it with icing sugar and sprinkle with the almonds.
This loaf tin has the dry, crumbly texture of a more traditional tea loaf, but the tea has been replaced by a generous slosh of brandy to represent the indulgence of Christmas. Flavoured with orange zest, sweet hits of marzipan and the richness of mincemeat, this loaf is delicious eaten slightly warm with butter. For the loaf I used my own mincemeat- recipe here, but shop bought would be fine as well.
For the cake
250g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
100g light muscovado sugar
splash of milk
zest of 1 orange
tablespoon of brandy
100g golden marzipan
For the topping
2 tablespoons of apricot jam
2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- The first step is (as always) to prepare your loaf tin. Do this by brushing with a thin coat of butter, followed by a dusting of flour. Alternatively, use baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180•C.
- Cube the butter into small chunks and add to a large mixing bowl. Measure out the flour and with the tips of your fingers rub the flour into the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and no large chunks of butter remain. This takes about 10 minutes by hand and is strangely therapeutic, but the same thing can be done very quickly in a food processor.
- Measure out the ground almonds and muscovado sugar and add to the dry crumb mix, giving a quick mix through. Next add the zest of one orange.
- In a separate bowl, crack 4 eggs and whisk slightly so the yolk is broken up. Add this to the dry mixture using a knife or spatula to mix through until you are left with a sticky, hard dough. At this point you may choose to add the brandy- this isn’t necessary and really depends on a- the content in the mincemeat you are using, and b-how decadent you want to be. Although I hate brandy in anything other than cake form, a little in a bake can go a long way.
- Spoon in the mincemeat and mix in thoroughly until evenly distributed. Cube the marzipan into small 1cm x 1cm chunks then add this to the cake mix as well. Finally, if your dough is a bit too firm add a tiny splash of milk (the kind of splash you would add to a cup of coffee).
- Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 60-75 minutes. If the cake begins to brown too quickly on top give it a tin foil hat. The cake is done when a skewer comes out clean after being inserted.
- Leave the cake to cool then remove from tin.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of apricot jam over a medium heat until runny in consistency. Use this to glaze the top of the loaf.
- Scatter the flaked almonds over, then dust with icing sugar.