Rich tamarind fruit cake

Rich tamarind fruit cake

Bake and Decorate
25-30 slices
Laura Edwards

I started my business using this particularly moist, dark recipe as a Christmas cake, producing hundreds of miniatures cooked in baked bean cans from my kitchen table. It has been tweaked by adding tamarind, my husband’s bright idea! Make it up to 3 months in advance, or at least a week before you want it, to allow it to mature and absorb the brandy.


Quantity Ingredient
200g dark glace cherries
280g sultanas
280g raisins, preferably lexia or muscatel
100g currants
170g mixed peel
110g glace ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
3 tablespoons black treacle
40g bitter marmalade
1 unwaxed lemon, finely zested
1 orange, finely zested
1 heaped tablespoon mixed spice
100ml brandy, plus 3 tablespoons to feed the cake
250g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
120g walnuts
40g blanched almonds
180g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
250g dark muscovado sugar
160g ground almonds
5 eggs, lightly beaten

To decorate

Quantity Ingredient
Christmas trees
or Gingerbread man cake
or Vintage glamour wedding cake


  1. The day before, rinse the cherries, then dry them well with kitchen towel and cut each in half. Place the sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed peel, glacé ginger, cherries, tamarind paste, black treacle, marmalade, zests and mixed spice into a large bowl. Pour over the brandy, give it a stir, cover with clingfilm and leave overnight.
  2. Next day, preheat the oven to 140ºC. Lightly butter a 23 cm diameter, 7.5 cm deep, round tin and line with baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the tin with brown paper and tie with string, to protect the edges from scorching in the oven.
  3. Scatter the whole nuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes in the oven, shaking once and watching so they don’t burn. Cool slightly, chop and set aside.
  4. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes until paler and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, then very gradually the eggs, mixing well between each addition. Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon and, lastly, all the fruits (and any liquid) and nuts.
  5. Scrape the batter into the tin and bake on a low shelf for about 2 3/4 –3 hours. Start to check it after 2 1/2 hours: if a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, it is ready. If it browns too much before it is fully cooked, make a circle of foil a bit larger than the cake, pierce a hole in the centre and open it up, then place it over the tin.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. When cold, prick all over with a fine skewer and evenly sprinkle over the extra brandy. Wrap in baking parchment, then foil, and leave to mature for a week or up to 3 months. Unwrap and feed it with 1 tablespoon more brandy every other week, if you like, for extra succulence and booziness!
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