February 3, 2020

CRANBERRY AND MARZIPAN CAKE and old Crich pottery.

About this time last year I made an apple, orange and cranberry cake using some forgotten cranberries from Christmas, and it was delicious.  You can read about it here.  Finding an unused box of fresh cranberries in the fridge again this year, along with a ball of marzipan leftover from icing the Christmas cake, a little bell was ringing in my head and I went in search of a recipe.  I found it in the book "Great British Bake Off Everyday".
The recipe was a bit odd.  I read it to myself a couple of times and decided that you are supposed to cream the butter and sugar and then crumble in the marzipan and beat it in until smooth, i.e. cream in the marzipan as well.  Try as I might, the marzipan would not blend in.  At this point I did wonder if I should transfer it all to my food processor to blend it but rejected the idea almost as quickly as I thought of it. 
You can see the recipe word for word where it makes an appearance on the internet here and see if you agree with me.  Anyway, instead I chopped the remainder of the marzipan and stirred it in with the flour, remembering how nice it was to find whole little chunks of it in other cakes and puddings.
Having made the mixture I then dropped another clanger by deciding to bake it in a Bundt tin.  I completely forgot one of my own house rules and that is not to have bits of sticky stuff, like marzipan, in a Bundt cake as they stick like glue to the tin.  The last time I made this mistake it was with a fudge and raspberry cake where the bits of fudge adhered completely to the tin and required a long soaking to get them off.  It wasn't until this cake had been in the oven for a good ten minutes that I remembered my mistake and it was too late by then.
And so, as you can see from the photos, the cake did stick a bit in places, but not so horribly that I had to use major surgery to rescue it.

It was delicious, had a nice, even crumb and the little bursts of sharpness from the cranberries contrasted well with the sweet chunks of marzipan.  Definitely a winning combination and a cake I will make again.  In an ordinary tin though!

 Now I come to the bit about Crich pottery.
When I spotted this cake stand for sale on Ebay it brought memories flooding back and I couldn't resist it. 
I lived near Crich in Derbyshire for most of my childhood.  It's a nice little olde worlde kind of village with a mixture of very old stone built houses and mid century brick ones.
The pottery was set up by a lady called Diana Worthy in the 70's and closed in the 90's when she moved abroad.  You can read more about it here.  I had only three pieces of it, a plate which I use as a cheese serving plate, a small jug and a small vase which you see in the picture which is just the right size for a few daffodils or tulips.  All of these have been in regular use since the 80's.  There's something about the rustic design which appeals to me.  The cake stand is a very nice addition to the collection of Crich pottery and I am enjoying using it.
100g unsalted butter, softened
65g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
120g ground almonds
200g marzipan, chopped into small dice (or crumbled)
120g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
115g cranberries, fresh or thawed if frozen
25g flaked almonds (a handful/sprinkling)
Method (my way)
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160fan / gas mk 4.  Butter and line a 20-21cm springform cake tin.  (Avoid using a Bundt tin!)
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar using a hand held electric whisk.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the ground almonds and marzipan.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and fold in gently, followed by the cranberries, stirring just until they are evenly distributed.  Scatter the flaked almonds over the top.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until done.
Remove from the oven, run a knife round the edge of the cake and leave to cool in the tin.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Cuts into 8-10 slices.


  1. Although I love almonds, there's something about marzipan that really doesn't do it for me. But this cake does sound intriguing and truly delicious and so I could (and should) try to overcome my aversion.
    Despite my love of studio pottery and a large number of visits I made to Derbyshire in the 1980s I'm sad to say that I don't have any Crich pottery. Curses!

    1. Phil, you could simply leave the marzipan out, maybe add a few drops of almond essence instead. White chocolate chips would also work instead.
      The pottery was tucked away and not that easy to find, I seem to remember. I stumbled across it by accident and was a regular visitor once I had it on my radar. It was a good source of Christmas and wedding presents.