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
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.
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.