A Cornish girl's food adventures

Sultana & pine nut cake

I’ve never been much of one for rich dark fruit cake. I love dried fruit but I always find fruit cakes to be a bit too sweet and full-on. Something like this is much more my cup of tea, more cake than fruit and a lighter cake at that. It’s no-where near as rich as a dark fruit cake but there’s still plenty of flavour.

The sweet marsala wine is delicious in this if you don’t want to invest in a bottle then golden rum is a good alternative or if you don’t want the booze at all then a little orange juice will do the job.
Dusting the cherries in a little flour before adding them to the mix will help to stop them from sinking to the bottom of cake as it bakes.

serves 10
3 tbsp marsala (see note above)
125g sultanas
50g pine nuts
100g butter, softened
10g sugar
175g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds
75g glace cherries, halved
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
Demerara sugar to finish

Combine the sultanas and the marsala in a small pan and gently heat for a few minutes before setting a side for 30 minutes, this will help the fruit to plump up. Grease and line a spring-form cake tin and pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Put the butter, sugar, almonds and flour into a mixing bowl and beat it until it is well combined. Drain the fruit (setting the soaking liquid to one side) and mix this into the mixture along with 40g of the pine nuts.

Whisk together the soaking liquid, eggs and milk and then beat this into the dry mixture to form a soft cake batter. Fold through the cherries and then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Level off the top and sprinkle it with a little demerara sugar and the last of the pine nuts to give the finished cake a nice crunchy top.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes and then carefully open the oven door and cover the top with foil. Bake the cake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

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