This is a boiled fruit cake which is simple to make. It keeps very well and makes an excellent Christmas cake.
1 cup water
125 gm butter (or 100gm margarine)
1 cup white sugar
450 gm mixed dried fruit (sultanas, currants, cherries, peel, ginger)
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 tsp almond essence (optional)
1/2 tsp rum essence (optional)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Handful of roughly chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)
Half a cup of brandy, whiskey or sherry (optional)
Put the first five ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil then simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Let this mixture cool for an hour or more. You could stand the pot in cold water in the sink and stir to assist the cooling process.
Turn the oven to 180 degrees.
Line a 20 cm cake tin with baking paper.
Add the baking soda to the cooled fruit mixture and stir.
Add the beaten eggs and essences to the mixture and stir well.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the pot, including the pieces of bran that haven’t made it through the sifter.
Mix gently using a folding motion, until there is no more dry flour.
Pour the mixture into the tin, then sprinkle the nuts on the top, pressing them down slightly with your fingers.
Bake for one hour, until the cake springs back when pressed, and a skewer comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake, turning the oven down slightly and covering with tin foil if it looks like it’s cooking too fast or browning too much on the top.
Another way to test if a cake is cooked is to lift the tin up to your ear and listen. If it’s cooked there will be a faint singing sound.
When you have removed the cake from the oven, quickly pour on the brandy. The alcohol will evaporate but the flavour will remain in the cake.
Let the cake cool in the tin for at least a couple of hours, then transfer it to a rack.
The next day it can be sealed in a plastic bag and stored in a cool place for a few months if necessary.
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