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Tunis Cake

 Although my Mum was a great baker, she occasionally brought home one of McVitie's Tunis cakes near Christmas time. Do you remember these cakes? Apparently, it got its name because a baker at McVities had tried a similar cake while stationed in Tunisia, where he was stationed during WW2.

Well I was feeling all nostalgic and thought I'd try and make one. Not as elaborate as the original, as that looks too tricky for my icing skills!
Mary Berry has a recipe, but I found another one, which was apparently sent by McVitie to a fan of the cake, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's in ounces.

3oz ground almonds
6oz butter
6oz caster sugar
3 medium eggs
rind of 1 lemon
8oz plain flour
11/2 tspn baking powder
2 tbspn milk

For the topping:
10oz plain chocolate
Marzipan fruits [banana, orange, pear, apple]

Preheat oven 160C/gas3                                        8" cake tin brushed with melted fat and lined with                                                                                        greaseproof paper at the bottom

Beat the butter and sugar together till white and fluffy then mix in lemon rind. Gradually add the beaten eggs.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together and fold into the bowl with the ground almonds using a metal spoon. Add milk to give a dropping consistency.
Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for about 11/2 hours till golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

For the topping:

Break the chocolate into a bowl with 1 tbspn water and melt over a pan of simmering water.
Wrap foil around the side of the cooled cake making sure it extends about half an inch above the top of it. When the chocolate has melted, pour it carefully onto the top of the cake, tapping the cake gently so the surface is smooth. Leave to set.
Decorate the top with marzipan fruits.

This is my simpler offering. It's a Madeira cake mixture, which is one of my favourite cakes. I found a small bag of  marzipan fruits at our local deli, but they only had one bag left. You could always make your own fruits. Haven't eaten it yet, so will let you know how it tasted!


My Mum was definitely not a baker and there wasn't enough money or spare time to buy or make treats at Christmas but Tunis Cake was the one exception that we always bought from the local Co-op. So I certainly have very fond memories of it. I'm impressed that you've made your own version - it sounds like an excellent idea for Christmas. I do remember that all through my childhood the layer of chocolate on the cake got thinner with every passing year.

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