October 16: National Liqueur Day
In one of the many bridal magazines that Islander reads, she once saw an ad for Amarula, a cream liqueur made from the marula fruit. It was touting Amarula as a unique alternative to champagne at wedding receptions.
Marula comes from a special, sacred tree grown in southern Africa and Madagascar, which is also referred to as the “marriage tree”. The tree is dioecious (meaning that there are both a male and female marula tree). When in season, the fruit grows abundantly from the female tree, symbolizing fertility in a marriage. Some use the fruit as part of a cleansing ritual before the wedding. And a few tribes (and tourists) exchange their marriage vows beneath the shade of the trees.
Having worked in a bridal shop, and currently serving as a marriage sponsor at church, Islander was sold on the Amarula ad in the wedding magazine. She immediately bought a bottle and we thought it would taste like Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur. The caramel color is similar but Amarula is stronger/boozier! And the marula fruit notes are definitely different.
We actually used the marula fruit cream liqueur in our anniversary cake this past summer. It seemed appropriate to follow the “marriage tree” theme when celebrating our marriage milestone. Now we can bake an Amarula cake for our engaged couples when we host them in our home during marriage preparation sessions. Amarula cake is also perfect for preparing on National Liqueur Day.
(Adapted from SA Promo Magazine)
For the Amarula cake
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar, granulated white
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup Amarula
- ¼ cup milk
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the Amarula and milk, until the batter is smooth. Divide evenly in two, greased round 6-inch baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees F in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool completely before stacking and frosting them.
For the Amarula buttercream frosting
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup Amarula
- 2+ tablespoons heavy whipping cream (or milk)
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar. After two cups of sugar, pour in the Amarula. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix well. Thin to a frosting consistency with cream or milk. Smear a little frosting on a cake pedestal or board to act as an adhesive to the bottom layer of the cake.
Place one of the cakes on the bottom. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Stack the other cake on top of the frosting. Spread more frosting on the top and sides of the cake until completely covered. Chill in the refrigerator to let the frosting set. Let the cake come back to room temperature before slicing and serving.
- This recipe is originally for a dozen cupcakes. We made this into a double layer 6-inch round cake.
- This is a denser and drier instead of fluffier and moist cake. The caramel-colored frosting reinforces the fruity flavor of the marula with a sophisticated and sweet “spirit”. This Amarula cake recipe is suitable for those who prefer a pound cake.
- Learn more about the legends of marula from Marula.org.