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 the goods:

2 cups currants
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut
1/2 cup golden syrup
2 oz butter + 4 oz butter ( 1 1/2 sticks)
1 tspn cinnamon
good glug brandy / whiskey / rum (optional but delightful)
2 eggs + 2 yolks
1 cup dk brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups Self Raising flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
pinch salt

honey almond butter topping
2 oz butter
1/2 cup dk brwn sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup flaked / sliced (unsalted) almonds

time: 10-15 minutes active 

you will need:

  • mixing bowl
  • 8 inch cake pan
  • baking parchment 


Esmeralda, the clumsy currant & coconut cake

It rained here in LA for the first time in months. Grey skies, start of Fall, leftovers and scraps in the pantry...seemed like a great day to make a fruitcake. The almond praline on top made the cake seem a lot less frumpy than your regular fruitcake.

I named her Esmerlda because Alice Ghostley died today. She played the clumsy witch, Esmeralda, on 'Bewitched'.

She was adorable.

This cake is dedicated to her.

Here's the recipe:

pre-heat oven to 375f

put the currants, 2oz butter and golden syrup in a medium sized bowl and microwave in 20 second bursts until the butter melts (4-5 bursts)

stir. add cinnamon, coconut, walnuts and brandy

cream 4 oz softened butter with the brown sugar, add the eggs and yolks (I do this with a few lazy strokes of a wooden spoon...this is an appliance free cake). Add the buttermilk. beat in. Add the fruit and nut mix, stir to combine. add the flour, baking powder and salt, stir until there are no flour lumps.

Pour into an 8 inch pan...I line it on bottom and sides, mostly because I like the way fruitcakes look all wrapped in paper...also because the cake will rise to the top of the pan.

Bake for 10 mins @ 375f, then knock the heat down to 350f and bake another 1hr 20 mins.

About 5 mins before the cake is done, melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan. stir and let the sugar dissolve and bubble a bit. add the honey then the almonds. stir then pour over the top of the cake. turn the oven off and spread the almond topping evenly over the cake. Let the cake cool in the oven. I placed a sheet of foil (loosely) over the top and let it sit there all night. The topping goes praline-hard and the cake stays nice and moist.