Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

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So, is anybody else starting to get excited about Christmas yet? Especially as Stir up Sunday is this weekend. Stir Up Sunday has its roots in the Anglican Church Book of Common Prayer, being the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent. It reads: “Stir up, we beseech thee oh Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.” Since Victorian times home cooks have traditionally made Christmas pudding on this Sunday. Although, more recently, the day itself is set aside to make Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies. This Amaretto Light Fruit Cake is a lighter, modern twist on a traditional Christmas cake. Most importantly, it can be made up to a few days before Christmas!

 

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake.

Since not everyone is a fan of the traditional, iced, spiced, dried fruit Christmas cake, creating a lighter version is not only delicious but also fun! And, because I know how time strapped the lead up to Christmas can be, as well as making this cake from scratch I have also included a super easy hack using a widely available cake mix. I really have thought of everything, so that you can enjoy baking your cake.

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake – Not Just For Christmas 

Because this cake is so tasty, making it shouldn’t only mean for Christmas. I originally made this cake for our son’s birthday in October. Since he requested Christmas Cake for his birthday celebration I compromised and made this lighter version with the addition of almond liqueur. After posting a photo of his birthday cake on Instagram I received lots of requests for the recipe. Resulting in me trialling Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix with the same mix of fruit and liqueur.

Cut amaretto light fruit cake on a cake plate with a slice of cake on a separate plate. A bottle of Disaronno liqueur and packet of cake mix.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake using Wright’s Madeira cake mix.

The resulting cake is an absolute hit. So, no matter which version of the cake you choose to make, they are both delicious. For those who would rather not add alcohol simply leave it out of the recipe. Using almond extract as an alternative, in my opinion would totally change the cake’s flavour. And so is not something I would recommend.

Original birthday cake version of this amaretto light fruit cake.
Baked from scratch Amaretto Light Fruit Cake.

The cake’s texture is moist and light with the fruit evenly distributed throughout. Either serve with a hot cup of tea, or a glass of Amaretto. Since both compliment this cake equally well. Because this cake does contain alcohol make sure that those who are eating it are aware. Finally, adding extra liqueur to the cake will result in a very strong alcohol flavour which doesn’t evaporate during baking. I speak from experience!

Recipe: Amaretto Light Fruit Cake – serves 10-12

Cake Made From Scratch:

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Sea Salt – halve if using free flowing salt

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

75g/3oz Ground Almonds

325g/11oz Self Raising Flour – alternately use the same quantity of plain flour and add 1tbsp baking powder

400g/14oz Mixed Dried Vine Fruits – I use a mix without citrus peel

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries

60ml or 4tbsp Amaretto Almond Liqueur

Using Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix:

1 x Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix

60ml Flavourless Vegetable Oil – I use sunflower oil

60ml or 4tbsp Amaretto Almond Liqueur

140ml Plain Tap Water

375g/13oz Dried Vine Fruits

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries

Method:

For both cakes use an 8in x 4in (20cm x 10cm) round cake tin that is thoroughly greased with butter and line the base with baking parchment. Note – cut out two circles of baking parchment per cake. One to line the base and the second to place on the top of the cake if it browns too quickly while baking.

Making And Baking The Cake From Scratch

  • First of all, preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.
  • Place the butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add one egg plus one tablespoon of flour and whisk together until just incorporated. Repeat this step three times until all four eggs have been added.
  • Now add the vanilla extract and amaretto and whisk to combine.
  • Sift the remaining flour (and baking powder) into the bowl and add the ground almonds. Stir together using a large metal spoon.
  • Finally add the dried vine fruit and glacé cherries.
Showing the stages followed to create the fruity batter.
Creating the fruit and amaretto cake batter.
  • Mix the dried fruits into the cake batter .
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, ensuring the top of the mixture is smooth.
  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. If the cake starts browning too quickly place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If raw cake batter clings to the skewer return cake to oven for a further 15 minutes baking then check again.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Steps showing the cake tin filled with fruity cake batter and after it is baked.
Filling the cake tin and baking the cake.

Using The Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix

  • First of all preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.
  • Into a large bowl add the oil, amaretto liqueur and water. Then add the cake mix from the packet.
  • Follow the packet instructions to mix the cake batter.
  • Add the dried vine fruits and glacé cherries and mix into the batter with a large metal spoon.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. This is longer than the time given on the packet due to the addition of fruit.
  • If the cake starts browning too quickly place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If raw cake batter clings to the skewer return cake to oven for a further 15 minutes baking then check again.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Removing Either Cake From It’s Tin And Serving

  • As soon as the cake is cooled it can be released from the tin.
  • Run a palette knife between the outside edge of the cake and inside of the tin.
  • Turn the cake out carefully.
  • Remove the baking parchment circle from the cake base.
  • Place the cake onto a cake plate, cake stand, or board.
Lighter alternative to a traditional Christmas cake.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

 

Overhead image of sliced cake served with a glass of amaretto liqueur.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

Either cake will keep for up to a week when stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge. Alternatively, as this cake takes minimal preparation compared to a traditional Christmas cake, it can be made and baked the evening before it is needed.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Amaretto Light Fruit Cake you may also like these:

Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

Dundee Fruit Cake on a white cake stand.
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

 

Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

Chocolate marble celebration cake filled with Maltesers
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

 

Snowy Black Forest Roulade – gluten free

Gluten free chocolate roulade filled with cherries and fresh cream, topped with chocolate trees and snow.
Gluten Free Snowy Black Forest Roulade

 

Christmas really is the time of year when we think of others. Whether it’s family coming to stay, friends popping by for a drink and nibbles, or others in society that do not have the home comforts we enjoy. Making an extra cake, mince pies, or cookies to give out may take little effort from us, yet mean the world to those they are gifted to. So this coming Christmas, I challenge you, as I do myself, to actively give to those in need. Just as our Heavenly Father freely gave His only Son Jesus to the world that we may know Him. Emmanuel – God with us.

From our home to yours, wishing you a very Happy Christmas.

Sammie xx

 

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Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

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I adore pretty things. Whether it be polka dot plates, wild flowers in a jug, or brushing my hands on cow parsley while out for a walk. And given a choice my garden will always be full of old english roses and rambling honeysuckle, rather than neatly edged borders containing structural plants. This relaxed approach is also reflected in my baking. A drizzle of icing here and there makes a cake not only beautiful, but shouts that it is homemade. Here, my Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake not only looks pretty but tastes pretty good too!

FF Uncut Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

A rich buttery coconut cake, packed full of glacé cherries, simply decorated with glacé icing and more cherries. Yet it looks like an afternoon tea party. In fact this cake makes me want to get out my best china, string bunting everywhere and hold a garden party. Why? Because it is such a cheerful, pretty and delicious cake. THE perfect cake to share.

FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

I rather enjoy baking loaf cakes such as this Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake. The loaf tin makes them easy to slice and perfect for packing up and taking on a picnic. Also, should the cake need to be shared further than anticipated, each slice can easily be cut in half. When I look at the photographs of this Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake they make me smile. Any cake that does that is a winner in my book.

FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake.

Recipe: Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake serves 8

For the cake:

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

200g/7oz Caster Sugar

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon halve quantity if using free flowing

1 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Eggs

125/4.5oz Sweetend Shredded Coconut – such as Bakers available from Amazon alternatively use the equivalent weight of desiccated coconut and add 3 tbsp whole milk to the cake batter

100g/4oz Glacé Cherries halved

250g/9oz Plain White Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

To decorate:

175g/6oz White Icing Sugar (Confectioners sugar)

2 Tbsp Tap Water

10 Whole Glacé Cherries

Small Red Sugar Balls approximately 1 tsp

Method: Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan, 325F, gas mark 3

You will need approximately a 25cm x 11.5cm x 7.5cm (10” x 4.5” x 3”) 2lb loaf tin for this recipe. Grease with butter and line the base with baking parchment.

Making And Baking The Cherry Coconut Cake

  • First of all add the butter, sugar and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until the ingredients are fully combined, pale and creamy.
  • Now add 2 eggs, half the flour and vanilla extract. Whisk together until just combined.
  • Add the last 2 eggs and whisk to incorporate.
  • Finally add the remaining flour, baking powder, coconut and cherry halves. Toss the cherries in the flour, this will stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking.
  • Fold all of the ingredients together (adding additional milk if using desiccated coconut) until they are combined.
FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Making the cherry coconut cake batter.
  • Spoon cake batter into the prepared tin making sure the top is level.
  • Place the cake tin into the middle of the oven and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes. My cake took 1 hour and 10 minutes to bake.
  • The cake is baked when golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Baking the cherry coconut loaf cake.
  • Once the cake has cooled run a palette knife around the inside of the tin. Turn out the cake, remove the baking parchment and place on a rack over a baking tray.

Decorating The Loaf Cake

  • Use a whisk to mix the icing sugar and water.
  • Spoon the thick glacé icing on to the top of the cake.
  • Add the glacé cherries to the iced cake.
FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Decorating the Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake.
  • Finally sprinkle over red sugar balls before the icing sets.
FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
The finished Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake.
  • Put the cake to one side and leave to set.
FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

Serve sliced and placed on your very best china, along with a freshly made pot of tea.

Store in an airtight container. Eat within 5 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake you may also like these:

Black Forest Cupcakes

FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Black Forest Cupcakes

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Iced Bakewell Tart.

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

FF Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

I am not the world’s best cake decorator! Yet I’ve developed several strategies for making the cakes I bake look presentable. Because we eat with our eyes first AND as I mentioned, I like pretty things, cakes being one of them. For inspiration I follow several bakers and cake decorators on Twitter and Instagram. They are an invaluable source of tips, tricks and ideas. Likewise Pinterest is also full of inspiration. For me though nature is the greatest inspirer. None more so than my beautiful back garden.

What inspires you?

Have fun making, baking and creating your feasts.

Sammie xx

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