Easy orange marmalade fruit loaf cake recipe. All in one method baking. Much lighter and less sweet than a traditional fruit cake, perfect for afternoon tea or a sweet snack.
My favourite way of using homemade marmalade is to bake it into this simple orange marmalade fruit loaf cake.
The best thing about ‘all in one’ recipes is that they are fault – prove. You would really need to try hard to get this type of cake wrong! It’s handy that you only need just one bowl for mixing, and there is no need to faff around with mixer or other specialist baking equipment.
All you need to do is gradually add all the ingredients, mix it well as you go, pour it in a tin and bake!
My marmalade fruit cake is precisely this kind of simple recipe. It’s also a delicious and moist cake with just the right amount of fruit in it.
Why make this recipe?
- Much lighter version of the traditional fruit cake
- Easy all in one method orange marmalade cake – simple recipe for beginners and if you are in a rush
- Great flavour citrus cake
- Keeps well
How is orange marmalade fruit cake different to traditional fruit cake?
Although I sometimes bake traditional fruit cakes, I have to admit I’m not a great fan of them. They are way too sweet and sticky for my liking.
This orange marmalade fruit cake is something completely different. The recipe twist comes in a form of adding Seville Orange Marmalade and cinnamon spice and drastically reducing the amount of dry fruit in the cake (like from 350g to 100g) to make this cake with orange marmalade healthy.
It will be still sweet enough and have a plenty of dried fruit, but also less sugar and plenty of flavour from the orange marmalade and the spices.
It’s a perfect lighter version of your traditional Christmas cake, if you are looking for a recipe that you can bake instead. I have a fantastic mixed spice or Christmas Spice mix that you can add in instead of the cinnamon and also add a couple of tablespoons of whisky or brandy to make this cake extra special.
Few notes on ingredients
I’ve used plain flour with baking powder, but if you only have self-raising flour, it’s O.K to use that too. Use the same amount of self-raising flour as the plain flour in the recipe, but leave out the baking powder.
I also like that you can also make variations of this cake. Depending on what type of sugar you use, you will end up with a slightly different cake. The darker the sugar is, the deeper the flavour is going to be (and the cake will be also slightly darker in colour).
In the past, I’ve tried to replace the butter with other fats (like spreadable butter or margarine), but to be honest, it’s not worth it!
Butter is butter, and you can’t replace the flavour! If you don’t have unsalted butter, just use salted butter, but don’t add the pinch of salt into your cake mix.
You can use cinnamon or mixed spice which work great with the orange flavour.
I prefer seedless sultanas or golden seedless sultanas, which are a little bigger and also don’t have any pips. If you wanted to you could soak them overnight in orange juice or brandy to make this fruit cake extra special.
As for the milk, you can use pretty much anything you have at hand. I tend to use semi-skimmed milk, but you can use dairy-free milk or full-fat, it really doesn’t matter much.
The flavour of the other ingredients will overpower the taste of the milk (if you are, for example, using soya milk). The milk is there just as a binding ingredient.
Seville orange marmalade
I usually make my own Seville Orange Marmalade and then use it in my cake, but you can, of course, use shop-bought one or any other marmalade made from Seville Orange substitutes, such as lemons, limes, tangerines or sweet oranges.
I’ve previously used my Orange & Lime Marmalade, Tangerine Marmalade and Grapefruit Marmalade with this recipe and they all work well, just have a different flavour (which makes a nice difference every time I bake this cake).
One of the reasons why I started to bake this recipe, is because I had copious amounts of marmalade and I was looking for a recipe that would use marmalade as one of the ingredients.
Every time I bake this marmalade fruit cake I tend to add more marmalade in it to see how far I can take it, but I’ve noticed that I need to adjust the other wet ingredients to make sure that the recipe is not too wet and ends up underbaked.
How to make this easy orange marmalade fruit cake recipe
Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3 or 340 F
Grease and line a 2 pound loaf cake tin with baking parchment.
In a bowl, beat together the sugar and the unsalted butter until pale and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and mix until creamy.
Fold in the flour with baking powder.
Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf cake tin and smooth the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 -40 min, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, place on the cooling rack and allow to cool in the tin.
Once cooled, remove from the tin and enjoy.
Extra tip for citrus flavour & moist cake
To add extra orange flavour to your marmalade loaf cake, warm up 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade and spoon it over the hot cake when you first take it out of the oven.
The warm marmalade will evaporate and seep into the cake leaving you with an extra orange drizzle on top of your cake.
I love that every time you can make this recipe slightly differently. Change the type of sugar, dried fruit, spices, flour or type of marmalade and you end up with another fabulous version of this marmalade fruit cake recipe.
Here are my favourite variations (keep the recipe ingredients amounts the same when swapping for the new ingredients).
- Orange & Cranberry Fruit Cake – swap the sultanas for dried cranberries
- Tangerine Fruit & Candied Peel Cake – swap the orange marmalade with homemade tangerine or satsumas marmalade and the sultanas for candied mixed citrus peel
- Grapefruit & Apricot Fruit Cake – swap the orange marmalade for grapefruit marmalade and the sultanas for dried apricots
This recipe is for one large (2 pound) loaf cake tin. You can also use two 1 pound loaf tins if you prefer.
Can I scale up this recipe?
This recipe is very easily scalable. I used to supply local heritage tearoom with this cake and always made about 6 loaves at the time. Whilst you can fit easily six 2 pound loaf tins in most ovens (3 on very low shelf and 3 on higher/middle shelf), most of you probably won’t need that.
A comfortable amount is to double the recipe and bake 2 large loaves or 4 smaller ones. This fruit cake freezes really well, so you can always bake once and freee it for later.
How to store your marmalade cake
This is a slightly dense and compact cake, which will keep well for several days. I usually keep the cake in plastic or oiled paper bag inside a tin bread bin. I find that the cake lasts a good 3-7 days and the flavour seems to develop nicely between the 1st and 3rd day.
The cake doesn’t seem to dry out much, but we have a very cold kitchen, so this might be different depending on where you live.
Can you freeze marmalade fruit cake?
If you want to keep your cake for longer, I’d freeze it on the day you bake it and use within 3-6 months. Simply leave the cake the cool down completely and then cut it to 1/2 and wrap separately into a cling film and then wrap in another plastic bag or other suitable freeze container. This double wrapping prevents the cake from drying out.
Keep flat in the freezer and make sure that the cake doesn’t get squished. Keep the cake in a freezer draw that hasn’t got strongly flavoured dishes such as frozen curry or frozen gumbo or similar savoury dishes that could result in transferring the flavour or smell on to your cake.
Defrost overnight in a loosely closed plastic bag and your marmalade loaf cake will stay nice and moist.
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Orange Marmalade Fruit Cake
- 2 pound cake loaf tin or similar size square or round (or two 1 pound loaf cake or bread tins)
- 230 grams plain flour
- 3 level teaspoons baking powder
- 110 grams light brown or caster sugar
- 110 grams unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 100 grams sultanas seedless or golden sultanas
- 150 ml milk
- 2-3 tablespoons of Seville orange marmalade plus more marmalade as a graze
- Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3 or 240 Farenheight
- Grease and line a 2 pound loaf cake tin with baking parchment.
- In a bowl, beat together the sugar and the unsalted butter until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and mix until creamy.
- Fold in the flour with baking powder.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf cake tin and smooth the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 -40 min, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, place on the cooling rack and allow to cool in the tin.
- Optional – warm up another 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade and spoon it over the hot cake. This will add zesty orange flavour to your loaf cake.
- Once cooled, remove from the tin and enjoy.
This blog post was originally written on 25 January 2020 and last updated on 20 November 2022
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