This is a beautiful cake is great for Christmas or summer time when cherries are at the best.
- 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
- 185g golden caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp orange blossom water
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 150g self-raising flour
- 100g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150g marzipan, chopped into 1cm cubes, tossed lightly in flour (see tip)
- 300g cherries, stoned, finely chopped, patted dry and tossed lightly in flour (see tip)
For the syrup
- Juice of 1 orange
- Splash of orange blossom water
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
- Heat the oven to 170°C/fan150°C/gas 3½. Lightly grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper, then wrap a folded sheet of baking paper around the outside and tie with string (to protect the sides of the cake during cooking). Set aside. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter in a large mixing bowl with the sugar and lemon zest for 3-5 minutes until pale and fluffy, then beat in the orange blossom water.
- Beat in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition, then stir through the flour, almonds and baking powder with a pinch of salt. Stir through half the marzipan pieces and half the cherries, then transfer to the prepared tin and poke in the remaining marzipan and cherries, making sure they’re just covered by the cake mixture.
- Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the heat to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3 and bake for 50-60 minutes more. Check after 30 minutes; if it’s looking dark, cover the top with foil – not before, as opening the oven door will make the cake sink. It’s cooked when a skewer pushed into the centre comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached
- About 5 minutes before the cake has finished cooking, make the syrup. Put all the ingredients in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has melted. When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven, poke holes all over the top with a skewer and drizzle over the syrup. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t leave the cake to cool on the base of the tin or the bottom will be soggy.
The cake will keep in an airtight container for 4 days and tastes best the day after you make it.