Tunis Cake

I’m sure a lot of you will have seen The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special in which Mary bakes this cake.  Not being too keen on fruit cake (unless it’s one that is more cake than fruit, if you know what I mean!), I decided to bake this for our Christmas Cake and am so glad I did.  It would also make a great birthday cake – just alter the decoration on top!

The recipe can be found here:- http://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/mary-berrys-tunis-cake/

It’s quite a simple recipe really and looks stunning – it’s an all in one cake which was great just before Christmas.

Into Henrietta (my new Kitchenaid) I put the softened butter, sugar, ground almonds, flour, eggs and lemon zest and mixed it on high-speed for about a minute.  Once it was thoroughly mixed, the mixture was turned into a 20cm deep cake tin, both the base and sides having been lined with parchment.  Make sure you bring the parchment up past the top of the tin.

The cake was baked for 45 minutes after which time the top was covered with foil and baked for a further 15 minutes.  It’s ready when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Mine actually needed another 10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the oven but DO NOT remove it from the tin.  Allow it to cool.

The next step is the chocolate ganache to go on the top of the cake.  Into a pan went the cream which was brought almost to the boil.  To this I added the chocolate – I actually used half plain and half milk chocolate instead of all plain and I’m glad that I did as the result was a lovely tasting chocolate, which seemed to please everybody in the family!  The mixture was stirred until the chocolate had melted and was lovely and glossy.  This was put to the side to cool a little.

Once the chocolate had cooled slightly it was poured over the top of the cake (which is still in the tin).  The chocolate finds its own level.  Put aside until the ganache has almost set.  I actually removed my cake before decorating it as I found it easier.  Very gently remove the cake from the tin (a loose bottomed tin is obviously the best type for this recipe) and gently peel off the parchment from the side.  You should have a layer of cake and then a layer of very thick chocolate on top!

Mary decorated her cake with coloured marzipan, but as I had some green and red icing leftover from another cake, I used this to make some holly leaves and berries.  My leaves are much smaller than the ones that Mary makes – I could only find an enormous holly leaf cutter or this tiny one.  I decided on the tiny cutter and spent the next half hour cutting out the leaves and then rolling extremely tiny balls with the red icing for the berries.  Luckily my icing was still quite tacky, so the holly leaves only needed a gentle push on to the icing for them to stick.  The berries were stuck onto the leaves using a little water.

We actually cut the cake on Christmas day as the children wanted to try it for their pudding.  I think this was because I also changed our pudding this year – instead of making a traditional Christmas pudding I made Tom Kerridge’s Spiced Orange Cake with Plum Sauce (this was definitely a pud for the adults).  Mary’s Tunis Cake was lovely, although even I thought the ganache was a little sickly – it was very thick indeed!  The cake is slightly ‘domed’ so the ganache isn’t as thick as it looks on top of the cake and it does keep well.

It’s definitely a cake I’ll make again for Christmas if not for a birthday or other special occasion.

Go on, give it a go!

Tunis Cake



6 thoughts on “Tunis Cake

  1. Hello, I saw Mary Berry do this at Christmas, and I’m making it next week with my niece, but the recipe doesn’t say how you colour the marzipan. I seem to remember from the TV that it was simple but I cannot remember. Did you colour your icing for your other cake, or buy it in? If you did make it could you tell me the secret.
    p.s. Yours looks up to Berry standards! and thanks for the chocolate tip.

    • Hi thanks for your comments. I used bought in coloured icing that I has left over from another cake. You can use white icing or marzipan and use green food colouring to colour it. You could always decorate it with something else apart from holly as it’s not Christmas. Let me know how you get on, I’d love to see a photo! x

      • Well we have a packet of left-over marzipan so we might as well go the whole hog. Plus it gives more to keep a five year old occupied! I remember a little of “something” being used and then the marzipan kneaded (or something) to bring the colour uniform. I had assumed a drop of green/red colouring had been used, but on the recipe it says paste. Not even sure what that is, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Unfortunately the video IS on YouTube, but NOT available in this country. I’ll have a picture next week.

      • We got there in the end. The marzipan didn’t turn out too great in colour or in form (in the end we just picked the best looking few to decorate the cake) but then I think it tastes just as good without. It took a long time to set but it provided many hours of Uncle-Niece bonding in the kitchen. Thanks for your help, we ended up using a lot more colouring than I imagined.

      • Hey, that look amazing, well done, so lovely to hear you had a great time and the best of all was to hear it was many hours of uncle-niece bonding in the kitchen. Looking forward to seeing more of your bakes. xx

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