Fruit tray bake
A fruit tray bake is the perfect anytime treat. These fruity fingers are so easy to make but be warned: it's impossible to just eat one. If you're trying to watch the calories but still fancy a treat, you can simply leave off the marzipan topping and you'll still have a delightful little treat to nibble on. It's full of really comforting flavours and spices and lets face it, everyone loves dried fruit in a tray bake!
For the cake:
- 200g (7oz) self-raising flour
- 1 level tsp ground mixed spice
- Pinch of salt
- 100g (3½ oz) soft brown sugar
- 350g (12oz) mixed dried fruit
- 60g (2oz) glacé cherries, quartered
- 2 medium eggs
- 125ml (4fl oz) oil
- 125ml (4fl oz) milk
- Few drops of vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 250g (8oz) white marzipan, grated
- 125g (4oz) royal icing sugar
- 26 x 16.5cm (10¼ x 6½ in) traybake tin, lined with baking parchment
- Small disposable piping bag
For a festive feel, swap the vanilla essence and white marzipan for almond essence and yellow marzipan. Top with a handful of chopped Brazil nuts.
- To make the cake, sift the flour, spice and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Either beat with a wooden spoon for 3-4 mins until well mixed, or use an electric mixer and beat for 1-2 mins. Turn the mixture into the tin and spread out so it is level.
- Bake the cake in the centre of a preheated oven at 170°C (325ºF, gas mark 3) for 45 mins - then, working quickly, remove the cake from the oven and spread the grated marzipan over it. Return the cake to the oven for a further 15-20 mins, or until the marzipan has turned a pale golden colour.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin, then remove from tin.
- Mix the royal icing sugar with enough water to give a drizzling consistency. Fill the piping bag with the icing. Cut off the end of the bag to give a small hole and pipe zig-zags over the top of the cake, using up all the icing.
- Leave the icing to set before cutting the cake into fingers.