Big Cakes: Cherry and Marzipan Cake


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Bake and Decorate

Bake and Decorate

By Fiona Cairns

Published 2011

  • About

Use the best cherries you can find. If you can get glacé sour cherries (I used some from Poland), then do try them - they elevate this recipe into something very special - though it does still taste great with normal glacé cherries. The layer of marzipan melts into the sponge.


  • 225 g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
  • 200 g whole undyed glacé cherries
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 120 g marzipan
  • 225 g golden caster sugar
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 115 g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar


    Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C/340°F/gas mark 3½. Butter a 30 × 11 × 6.5cm loaf tin, or a 23cm round cake tin, and line the base with baking parchment.

    Rinse and completely dry the cherries on kitchen towel. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Roll out the marzipan between 2 sheets of clingfilm into a very thin rectangle or circle, slightly smaller than the tin, and set aside.

    Cream the butter, sugar and zest together in an electric mixer until very pale, light and fluffy (this will take about 5 minutes).

    Beat in the eggs a little at a time, adding 1 tbsp flour during the process to stop the mixture from curdling. Fold in the almonds, the sifted flour mixture and the lemon juice until well blended, then spoon half the cake mixture into the tin. Place half the cherries over the mixture in a shape echoing that of the tin, towards the middle. This will support the marzipan. Lay on the marzipan, then add the remaining cherries, again in a shape echoing the tin, but this time towards the outer edge. Spoon on the remaining mixture. Sprinkle over the demerara and bake for 50-60 minutes. It’s ready when a skewer comes out clean and the centre of the cake springs back to the touch.

    Cool the cake in the tin for 15-20 minutes, then turn out and remove the paper. Leave to cool completely. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle; it’s due to the weight of the marzipan and cherries. If decorating, simply invert it so the flat base forms the top.