A festive treat – recipe by Hafiz.
Of all the recipes it has been my pleasure to work with down the years, this has to be amongst my all-time favourites. Inspired by the traditional German yuletide bread, enriched with thick wodges of marzipan, this is simply too delicious to be reserved for just a couple of days in the year. Wish it could be Christmas every day? Go ahead, make your wish come true!
There’s a whole array of ingredients making guest appearances, so it’s a good idea to get everything weighed up and ready before final – sticky – assembly. If your store cupboard is missing the precise items featured here, feel free to improvise with alternative varieties of fruit and nuts; this is after all how I fixed upon this particular combination. I would, however, recommend retaining the cardamom, which supplies a wonderful festive top-note.
200 g butter, softened
175 g soft light brown sugar
grated zest of one orange
200 g gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
75 g ground almonds
seeds from 8 cardamom pods, ground
100 g walnut pieces, roughly chopped
75 g dried apricots, roughly chopped
50 g glacé cherries, halved
25 g candied peel
250 g marzipan, half-inch /centimetre cubes
25 g melted butter
1 heaped Tbs icing sugar
Set the oven to 180°C, gas Mk 4.
Line a 7′ x11″ baking tray with baking paper.
Assemble and prepare your ingredients, together with the requisite implements and medium mixing bowl.
Make sure the butter is soft – a short time on the microwave set to defrost should do the business, but be careful not to let it melt. Add the sugar, and apply an electric whisk until pale and creamy.
Fold in the beaten egg with a wooden spoon or spatula, and add the ground almonds, cardamom and orange zest. Sift in the flour, baking powder and spice powders, and stir it all up into a uniform mixture.
Add the various fruit and nuts, plus the marzipan, making sure to separate out the pieces. Fold everything together evenly, and dollop the mixture into the prepared baking form.
Have ready a small bowl of water, to moisten your fingers as you press the mixture into an even layer.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the cake is lightly risen and golden brown. Set on a rack to cool.
Whilst the cake is still warm, brush with melted butter.
Wait until properly cooled and settled before carefully turning the cake onto a tray in order to remove the greaseproof paper. Turn the cake back top-side up, then, using a sieve, dredge with icing sugar.
Slice into 16 oblong pieces (8×2), or cut each of these in half if you plan to be abstemious – but beware, you may well be tempted to come back for a second piece!
As published on Hafiz’s website Magic Cookbook Online.
Hafiz has been compiling an online database of the many vegetarian recipes he has written over the course of his catering career. It’s a work in progress – though recent additions to his repertoire are necessarily all gluten-free. Here’s a link to the Gluten-Free! page.