Filled with fruit! Filled with nuts! But don’t call it a fruit cake….unless you fee like it. Strictly speaking, this is a Genoa cake. What’s the difference, you ask? My answer: I have no idea. 😉. I don’t actually think there is one. The only thing I know is this: almost every fruitcake I have ever eaten has been as hard as a sack of bricks, as dry as the set of Lawrence of Arabia, and as tasteless as a mouth shoved full of napkins. Rest assured, this cake is none of those things. So let’s get down with our Genoa cake selves!🎈💃
I’m not sure what the deal is with fruitcakes. I have the feeling that some manufacturers make them bad intentionally to perpetuate the joke of them all being horrible. (Whoa, it just got a little X-Files in here, didn’t it? It’s a fruit cake conspiracy!)
But deep down inside, I had a feeling the conspiracy wasn’t true. I had a slice of homemade fruitcake when I was a kid that I really liked, so I knew the truth was out there.
Fast forward to last year. Is anyone else obsessed with The Great British Bake Off? I certainly am. It’s a little hard to watch it here in the U.S. (At least it is where I am). They have a version on PBS, but unfortunately they edited out a lot of the British jokes and witty repartee. (Why?). And now on ABC they have an American version with Mary Berry, but no Paul Hollywood. What’s the deal with that? Anyway, I love the show because the contestants are always nice to each other as opposed to a lot of U.S. cooking competitions shows where the contestants constantly bash each other or trash talk when others aren’t around. Can’t we just bake a lovely cake and be nice? ✌
Anyway, it’s a delightful show and you can watch a lot of the episodes on YouTube. The Christmas special featured this lovely Genoa cake, and I knew I had to make it right away. Unlike a lot of fruit cakes, this one doesn’t have that weird waxy pineapple that freaks me out. It DOES have maraschino cherries, but you rinse them and pat them dry. The texture is soft and lovely. My favorite part is probably the almonds. There are some ground up and stirred into the batter, and some coarsely chopped. It gives this cake a great texture. Feel free to top the cake with nuts and fruit as a decoration, or leave it naked like I did this time. The whole thing is covered in an apricot glaze that leaves it moist for days. It’s hard to hate fruitcake after this!
One thing I will mention, though, is that since this cake hails from England, it doesn’t have normal U.S. measurements. Nine ounces of flour, etc. Therefore, it’s probably easiest to make if you have a kitchen scale. But if you’re looking for proof that fruitcakes are worth it, or really want to get the festive times a rolling, this cake is definitely for you!
- For Cake:
- 350g/12 oz maraschino cherries, rinsed and patted dry
- 225g/8 oz canned pineapple, drained, dried, and roughly chopped
- 50g/ 2 oz dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 100g/3½ oz blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- The zest of two lemons
- 350g/12 oz raisins
- 250g/9 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 250g/9 oz sugar
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g/9 oz self-raising flour
- 75g/ 2½ oz ground almonds
- For topping:
- small handful of whole blanched almonds
- small handful of walnut halves
- small handful of maraschino cherries, halved
- 1¾ oz whole orange peel, cut into pieces
- 100g/3½ oz apricot jam
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix cherries, pineapple, apricots, chopped almonds, lemon zest, and raisins. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the beaten eggs a little at a time, adding a spoonful of flour to stop the mixture from curdling with each addition of egg.
- Carefully fold in the rest of the flour and the ground almonds using a rubber spatula. Then fold in the fruit and nut mixture.
- Pour the cake batter into the pan and smooth the top to have a nice work surface.
- Decorate the top of the cake with the almonds, walnuts, cherries, and orange peel in your desired pattern.
- Bake the cake for 2-2¼ hours, or until golden brown. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for a half an hour, then remove it from the springform pan and let it cool completely.
- Heat the apricot jam in a saucepan on low, until warm and runny.
- Brush the jam all around the sides and top of the cake.