Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Mincemeat & Marzipan Madeira Cake

Well… Christmas is over for another year, and we still have the New Year’s celebrations to look forward to. Doubtlessly, on New Year’s Eve there will be more feasting but until then I’m still using up the leftovers from the Christmas over-indulging!

Each year, I promise myself that I will not buy too much food to see us through the festive season, but I have yet to keep to that… mind you, this year on foot of plaintive requests from my gang who weren’t looking forward to the prospect of turkey curry in the days after Christmas, I did buy a small turkey, which was enough for the dinner on the Big Day and for a few sandwiches later that evening!
 
I still had leftovers however, and loathe to throw them out or to consign them to the back of the fridge wherein they would lurk, waiting to be re-discovered sometime in the next millennium, I have made a concerted effort to use them in more inventive and thrifty ways this year!
 
Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I love baking and can quickly knock-up all manner of cakes, buns, pastries and other baked goods and also that I rather enjoy doing this…. So when faced with half a jar of homemade mincemeat and a lump of marzipan, I decided that I would make a very basic madeira cake, but use these in it instead of the more usual lemon zest only.
 
Initially I had toyed with the idea of mixing the mincemeat thoroughly through the cake batter, but then I decided that I would much prefer having blobs of mincemeat and little nuggets of marzipan in little pockets through the cake. I was a bit concerned that due to the weight of both these ingredients, that they would sink to the bottom of the cake as it cooked, but I decided to risk trying it on the basis that the batter for madeira cake is stiffer than other sponge-like cakes and would prevent this. Luckily, I was correct and I was delighted with how it turned out. The finished cake has a close crumb but was still light and fluffy to eat and I loved the fact that both the mincemeat and marzipan had retained their essential characteristics.
 
There was something quite plain looking about the cake when it was baked, despite the fact that I had sprinkled the top of it with some flaked almonds prior to baking, but luckily I had a small amount of icing sugar at the bottom of a packet, so used this with a little water and a drop or two of almond extract, to create an icing which I drizzled over the cooled caked. Although you could omit it, I strongly recommend that you do include it as it finished of the cake perfectly
 
This is a very festive cake full of appropriately seasonal flavours, was absolutely delicious and is one that I will definitely be making again.
 

Ingredients:

175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
210g plain flour
40g self-raising flour
60ml milk
150g mincemeat
75-100g marzipan, broken into little nuggets
50g flaked almonds
To finish:
50g icing sugar
1tsp boiling water
1-2 drops of almond extract
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160C/Fan Oven 140C/Gas Mark 2. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin and set aside.
2. Place the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and beat together using a hand-held electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, making sure that they are fully incorporated before adding more.
3. Sieve the two flours together and fold into the creamed mixture, adding the milk as you go. Make sure everything is thoroughly incorporated and that there are no pockets of flour remaining.
4. Spoon one third of the mixture into the prepared tin. Use about half of the mincemeat to drop little blobs over the cake batter. Do the same with half of the marzipan ‘nuggets’. Repeat this with another third of the cake batter and with the remaining mincemeat and marzipan. Finally top with rest of the cake batter and smooth the surface with the back of a metal spoon. Sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top of the cake and bake in a preheated oven for 55 – 65 minutes or until well-risen and a golden brown colour.
5. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
To finish:
6. Mix the icing sugar, boiling water and almond extract together to create a smooth icing with a thick pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake and allow to set.
 
Serves 10-12.