Humble Fruit Cake

Christmas Cake

I slowly developed this fruit cake recipe over a few years.  It has matured as I have, oh wise one of 30 years old!

It has a lovely taste and doesn’t go dry like a lot of cakes.  Depending on how you like it, if you cook it for the length given, it will deliver a lovely moist texture as opposed to a Mr Kiplin dryness.  It’s also therefore perfect whether you prefer to ice it or just have it plain, although I do think that the richness of the cake and especially if you leave it to mature, it deserves to iced and decorated royally.

This cake is therefore ideal for Christmas, birthdays, and weddings.  You can also make one large cake cut into pieces, or miniature versions if you have the right tins (obviously changing the cooking time given) and then make them into small cakes as gifts, perfect when decorated with crystallised flowers.

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The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200g glace cherries
  • 280g sultanas
  • 280g raisins
  • 100g currants
  • 170g mixed peel
  • 2 deserts spoons of treacle
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 100ml brandy, plus 3tbsp (or more) to feed
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus more the tin
  • 160g nuts (whatever you have in the cupboard, I used almonds and walnuts)
  • 160g ground almonds
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 250g Muscovado dark brown soft sugar
  • 5 eggs lightly beaten
Equipment
  • 20cm Square loose bottomed tin OR
  • 23cm Round loose bottomed tin

The method

  1. The day before, rinse the cherries, dry with kitchen towel and chop in half.
  2. Place the fruit, including the mixed peel, treacle, lemon zest, and spices into a large bowl.  Pour over the brandy, give it a stir, cover with cling film and leave over night.  If you wish, you can actually soak just the fruit weeks in advance to make the raisins plump up like grapes.  But minimum, should be overnight.
  3. Next day, preheat the oven to 140c/130c FAN/Gas Mark 1.
  4. Lightly butter your chosen tin and line with parchment paper.  Wrap the outside of the tin with brown paper and tie with string.  This is to protect the edges from scorching in the oven.
  5. Whilst preparing the batter, bake the nuts in the oven for 10 minutes.  When cool, chop.
  6. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for a least five minutes, until pale and fluffy.
  7. Add the ground almonds, and then the eggs gradually, mixing well between each addition.
  8. Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon or spatula and lastly all the fruit (with every drop of brandy) and chopped nuts.
  9. Pour the batter in to the tin and bake on a low shelf for 2hrs 45min – 3hrs or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  10. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and leaving to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Once cooled, wrap in greaseproof paper and cling film and store in an airtight container.  Feed with the extra brandy once a week until ready to ice.

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