When I plan my baking, and when I shop, there's always a little space in my mind for the baking challenges I like to do. I'm always hoping I can fit them into my plans, without going out of my way to make something which wouldn't be happily eaten.
So when my husband had a Homer Simpson moment in front of a cake in Waitrose supermarket (Mmmm! Marzipan and cherry....) my immediate response was "I can make you one of those, if you really want it" and my participation in this month's AlphaBakes challenge was settled! M is for Marzipan.
I used the all-in-one method to mix the cake batter (200g SR flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 100g baking spread (softened butter would be fine too), 75g caster sugar, 2 small/medium eggs, 1 teaspoon almond extract and enough milk to give a dropping consistency), then folded in 70g halved natural coloured dark glacé cherries and 75g marzipan cut into very small cubes. I washed the syrup from the cherries before halving them, then mixed both the cherries and chopped marzipan with a tablespoon of flour from the weighed amount in the recipe. This can stop pieces of fruit sinking through a batter as it warms up in the oven.
I used marzipan with quite a high almond content, and cut down the usual amount of sugar a bit, but this was still a very sweet cake. The almond flavour was stronger than that of the cherries, possibly because of the added almond extract, but the contrast between the soft pieces of marzipan and the chewier cherries was good. I think, in hindsight, that putting some of the marzipan on top wasn't a good idea - cherries would have looked better, if I'd had any extra to use, and probably wouldn't have burnt.
AlphaBakes is a monthly challenge hosted alternately by Caroline at Caroline Makes and Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker. Each month a letter of the alphabet is randomly chosen, and then participants makes something using that letter as the first letter of a major ingredient or word in the name of the dish. This month, the letter M was chosen by Ros, who will post a round-up of entries at the end of the month.