RECIPE: I’ve made a few different fruit cakes. There are celebration cakes that take a whole lot of time to make including weeks of soaking, and then there are the ones that you can knock together in an afternoon. Some others I’ve tried have been too dry, even with pineapple, and others have had nuts or more exotic dried fruits. My husband isn’t keen on walnuts mixed through his cake, so this recipe is a great all-round compromise. This is one of the knock-together kind, nice and quick to prepare. If you can’t get some types of dried fruit, you can just substitute with others. I substituted dark rum for the brandy and didn’t decorate it with the cherries and almonds, due to the aforementioned preferred tastes of my husband.
PREPARATION: This is an easy cake. After I boiled and simmered the dried fruit, I tipped the lot into a large baking tray to cool. I prepared a 23cm square pan – this shortened the cooking time but didn’t affect the finished product. I baked the cake at the top of my oven and made sure to turn it to get an even bake.
IMPRESSIONS: I’ve never been overly excited by fruit cake, but I enjoy this one. It’s just the right amount of richness, it’s moist, it doesn’t have too many of the more bitter dried fruits, and best of all, I can bake it in an evening. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to cook a celebration cake every now and then! This is a good cake to keep wrapped in foil in a container in the pantry in case you have visitors because it keeps for three months. I also like to take it camping because it’s dense enough to hold together despite rough handling.
Recipe from Cakes & Slices by the Australian Women’s Weekly Home Library
Favourite Boiled Fruit Cake (Australian cups and measures)
Line a 23cm round pan or one 19cm square pan with 6cm sides with two layers of baking paper.
250g chopped raisins
1/2 cup mixed peel
3/4 cup halved glace cherries
1/4 chopped glace pineapple
1/4 cup chopped glace apricots
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup water
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbs treacle
2 tsp grated orange rind
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Combine fruit, butter, sugar, brandy and water in saucepan. Stir constantly over heat without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, simmer covered 10 minutes. Transfer to large bowl, cool to room temperature.
Grease a deep 23cm round (or deep 19cm square) cake pan, line base and side with two thicknesses paper, bringing paper 5cm above edge of pan.
Add eggs, treacle and rinds to fruit mixture, stir until combined. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. If desired, decorate with grace cherries and almonds. Bake is slow oven for about 2 1/2 hours. Cover cake with foil, cool in pan. Keeping time: 3 months.