Anyone for tennis? Don't ask.
I play Jewish tennis, which helps to explain this recipe. In fact, I play Jewish ladies' tennis: co-ordinated outfits, late starts, mobiles on court and nail breaks instead of tie-breaks. The accountant's wife is in charge of court fees, the optician is there for line calls. There are frequent Talmudic disputes because no-one can remember the score. However, we do have two doctors in our group, which is useful for second opinions.
Our main fixture is Sunday morning, and I find cake helps soften the painful memory of a botched volley and rubbish backhand.
A few years ago I made this classic English teatime fruitcake and iced it in the shape of a lurid green tennis court, with tramlines as wobbly as my serve, for a friendly (hah!) match at the Hay Literary Festival between hacks and publishers. The fruitcake is light, moist and large enough to cater for an entire tournament. The icing is optional.
Use a lightly greased and floured oblong tin (approx 25 x 35cm).
● 25g butter
● 225g sugar
● Grated zest and juice of a small orange
● Grated zest of a small lemon
● 4 medium eggs
● 50g ground almonds
● 275g self-raising flour
● 1 tbsp milk
● 175g currants
● 175g sultanas
● 50g candied peel
● 50g glace cherries
● 25g shredded, blanched almonds
● Pre-heat the oven to 180°F
● Cream the butter and sugar with the orange juice and zest and the lemon zest until light.
● Beat in the eggs one at a time.
● Stir in the ground almonds, then the flour and lastly the milk, the fruit and the almonds.
● Turn into the tin and bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
● Cover the top with foil if it looks like it is becoming too dark.
● Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out.
● If wished, cover the cake with marzipan and grass green-tinted fondant icing.
● Mark out the lines of the tennis court with little silver balls and/or pipe thin lines of white icing.