Winter spiced bake

Why not try something a little lighter this Christmas yet still enjoy all of the traditional flavours?

Cakes and bakes
Young girl and woman mixing cake mixture in a large mixing bowl
  • Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes soaking time (prep. time)
  • Cooking time 30-37 minutes (cooking time)
  • Serves 10 slices


1 Earl Grey tea bag

4 tbsp boiling water

115g/4oz sultanas

55g/2oz glace cherries, roughly chopped

Sponge base

140g/5oz self-raising flour

115g/4oz soft light muscovado sugar

115g/4oz soft margarine

2 eggs

1 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp almond extract

Crumble topping

50g/13⁄4 oz plain flour

15g/½ oz porridge oats

15g/½ oz light muscovado sugar

25g/1 oz soft margarine

55g/2oz marzipan, coarsely grated

2 tbsp flaked almonds


Add the teabag to a bowl and spoon over the boiling water. Mix in the sultanas and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line the 20cm/8in shallow square cake tin with a large square of non-stick baking paper, snipping the paper diagonally into the corners of the tin and pressing the paper down so that the base and sides of the tin are lined.

To make the sponge base, add the flour, sugar, margarine, eggs, ground spice and almond extract to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Drain the sultanas and mix any remaining tea into the sponge mix. Spoon into the lined tin and spread level.

Scatter the drained sultanas and cherries over the sponge.

To make the crumble topping add the flour, oats, sugar and margarine to a bowl and rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Scatter over the fruit then bake for 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle with the marzipan and almonds and cook for 5-7 minutes more until lightly browned on top.

Leave to cool in the tin then lift the cake out, peel away the paper and cut into ten bars.