- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 16
- STEP 1
Put the almonds into a small bowl and pour over boiling water to just cover. Leave for 5 mins then drain in a sieve and leave to dry.
- STEP 2
Preheat the oven to 180C/160 C fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a deep loose-based 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
- STEP 3
Put the butter in a large bowl and beat well until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the orange zest and apricot jam.
- STEP 4
Sieve together the flour and baking powder. Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle, stir in a little flour.
- STEP 5
Add the remaining flour and ground almonds and mix well. Mix in the milk and then add the dried fruit and cherries and mix gently together.
- STEP 6
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread level using the back of a spoon. Arrange the whole almonds close together in neat circles on the top of the cake. Bake in the oven for 45 mins.
- STEP 7
Lower the oven temperature to 160C/140 C fan/Gas Mark 3 and cook for a further 60–80 minutes. Check the cake after 50 minutes by inserting a wooden or metal skewer into the cake. When it’s done it should have just a few crumbs attached. Check every 10 minutes - it’s important not to overcook this cake so the centre will be a little soft.
- STEP 8
When cooked, remove the cake briefly from the oven, put the milk and sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Brush over the top of the cake and return the cake to the oven for 2-3 mins. Remove and allow the cake to cool in the tin. When quite cold remove from the tin and wrap in foil and keep for at least 2 days before cutting.