fruitcake with marzipan icing

  • 1 1/2 cups red glacé cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups green glacé cherries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 2 cups slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

for the icing:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups ground almonds
  • strained apricot jam, or any other flavour

I first made this one summer when I was in Montreal. Some friends I met there decided to have a "Christmas in July" party and I volunteered to provide the fruitcake, since Christmas isn't really Christmas without fruitcake, whether you like it or not. I am in fact among those who normally don't like it, but I managed to find a recipe and tweak it just enough to make this tasty (really!) cake.

  1. In a large bowl, combine cherries, raisins, currants, and slivered almonds. Add grape juice and stir well. Let sit for one hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

  3. In a large bowl, cream butter. Gradually add brown sugar, stirring until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.

  4. In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually add dry mixture to butter mixture. Add almond extract and fruit mixture, stirring until well blended. Spoon into three 8"x4" loaf pans.

  5. Bake 3-3.5 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

for the icing:

  1. Pour water and sugar into a saucepan. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Add ground almonds and cook until mixture does not stick to the sides.

  2. Pour out onto a clean, flat surface. A marble slab is ideal, but any flat heat-resistant surface works. Knead with a wooden spoon, spreading it out in a figure eight pattern, then gathering it together. When it becomes more doughy in consistency and cool enough not to burn you, knead with hands, dusting with icing sugar to keep from sticking.

  3. Using a rolling pin, roll out the marzipan into sheets roughly the size and shape of the surface of the cake to be iced.

  4. Remove cake from pan and trim uneven edges so that it sits flat. Spread a thin layer of jam on the cake as an adhesive, lay the icing on top. Trim excess marzipan from the edges of the cake.