Taking the idea of stollen bread and putting it in cake form, this festive treat has cranberries laced with Amaretto and a hint of orange and spice. A delicious twist on tradition.
Make a day before you want to eat it to allow the flavours to mature.
Christmas cranberry and Amaretto stollen cake
- FOR THE CAKE
- 150g dried cranberries
- 100ml Amaretto
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds (see page 85)
- finely grated zest of 1 organic orange and juice of ½
- 120g unsalted butter, really soft, in pieces, plus more for the tin
- about 200g very good-quality shop-bought marzipan, or home-made (see page 50; make just ½ the recipe)
- 350g white spelt flour (or plain flour)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 120g golden caster sugar
- 200ml crème fraîche
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100g ground almonds
- FOR THE TOPPING
- 40g unsalted butter, melted
- 1–1½ tbsp amaretto
First of all (and the night before if you can) place the cranberries, amaretto, nutmeg, cardamom and orange zest and juice in a bowl, stir, then leave for at least a few hours.
Butter a 30 x 10 x 10cm loaf tin and line with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
Roll the marzipan into a log about 2.5cm in diameter and 3 - 4cm shorter than the tin.
To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Place the butter and sugar in a food mixer (or use a large bowl and a hand-held electric whisk) and cream together for four or five minutes, until light and creamy.
Add the crème fraîche and mix. Continuing to whisk, slowly add the eggs, tipping in 1 tbsp of the flour mixture to stop it curdling. Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds, cranberry mixture and every drop of liquid.
Tip half the batter into the prepared tin, lay the marzipan roll right down the centre, slightly pressing it down, then cover with the remaining mix. Smooth the top and bake for 45–55 minutes. Test with a skewer down the sides (not the middle because of the marzipan). It will probably be slightly cracked on top; this is fine.
Meanwhile, mix the melted butter and amaretto together and, as soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick the surface all over with a cocktail stick. Brush the amaretto butter all over the top and leave in the tin to firm up for 20–30 minutes. Tip out to cool completely (top uppermost) on a wire rack.
When cold, wrap well in baking parchment and then in foil. Serve the cake after at least a day, though it keeps very well for several days.
Recipe from Seasonal Baking by Fiona Cairns, £25, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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