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!