I like to keep things simple when friends come over. As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen, I don't want to be stuck there all day. I also want to have some fun and be part of the party. I like laid back dishes, simple nibbles, the one pot wonders, and of course, make-ahead dessert, such as this almond raisin cranberry yoghurt cake with Marsala.
This combines all the great flavours of sweet raisins, slightly tart dried cranberries and fragrant Marsala wine. If you can remember, steep the dried fruits overnight in the Marsala so that they can really drink up all the flavours. If not, an hour prior to baking will do just fine.
The yoghurt adds tenderness and a subtle tang; and with the vegetable oil which keeps the cake so moist. For a bit of texture, I use a mixture of plain flour and ground almonds. I just adore baked goods with ground almonds.
I added a pinch of ground all-spice here; not so much that it becomes the dominant flavour. But that little hint of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg is just so lovely with the fruits and sweet Marsala.
When I say this cake is easy to make, please believe me... This is like super easy. No need for a mixer, just a couple of bowls and a light stirring equipment.
As mentioned before, this cake is best made a day ahead and it keeps really well. If you want to serve it warm, just put the cake back in its tin, cover with tin foil and set in a low oven for ten minutes or so.
Almond Raisin Cranberry Yoghurt Cake with Marsala
100 gr raisins
100 gr dried cranberries
150 ml Marsala
150 ml plain Greek yoghurt
150 ml vegetable oil
1 tsp real vanilla extract
150 gr plain flour
125 gr ground almonds
125 gr light muscovado sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp all spice
Icing sugar, to serve
In a bowl, tip the raisins and cranberries and pour over the Marsala. Let the dried fruits steep for at least an hour to soften.
In the meantime, lightly grease a 23 cm round cake tin and line the bottom with a circle of grease proof paper, and preheat your oven to 180 C.
Mix together the wet ingredients, the yoghurt, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Also in another bowl, measure out all the dry ingredients. Pour in the yoghurt mixture and stir around until smooth.
Scoop the dried fruits out of the Marsala, and stir into the batter. Saving the remaining Marsala for later. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Take a skewer and prick all over the cake whilst it's still warm. Pour over the remaining of the soaking Marsala and let it soak in. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, or with your favourite beverage, whatever tickles your fancy... :)