The Absolutely Best Fruitcake for the Festive Season #271
Meanderings of a Domestic Goddess
As the celebration season is very rapidly approaching, it is time to turn to thoughts of a festive cake for friends and family. This is a great recipe that works well for when guests drop by, or for dessert served with a really good drop of port. This cakes lasts well and improves on storing, so if you can keep it away from prying fingers, it’s good to cook it in November for a special treat in December.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes (plus soaking)
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours
250g Pitted Prunes, chopped
250g Pitted Dates, chopped
200g Glace Cherries or use cranberries for a different taste.
1½ cups rum (or brandy)
250g butter, cut into small pieces
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
4 x eggs
200g dark chocolate
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup apricot nectar
2 cups plain flour
½ cup self raising flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of garam masala
Extra rum or brandy for finishing.
1. Mix the dried fruit in a bowl and add 1½ cups of the rum (or brandy) and leave overnight. You can add nuts at this stage if you want- try walnuts, pecans, macas and almonds all chopped finely, about 1 cup in total.
2. Line a 23 cm deep round cake tin (or a square one or a heart one) with a double layer of baking paper on sides and base. Wrap outside of tin with a double thickness of brown paper or some thinnish cardboard (like a cornflakes packet) and tie with string or secure join with a paper clip or stapler.
3. Heat oven to 160°C.
4. Beat butter sugar and vanilla until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one, beating well.
5. In the bowl where you have let the fruit sit overnight- add the flours and the spices to the fruit and mix slowly by hand.
6. Add the butter and egg mix to the fruit and mix well- by hand.
7. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over simmering water, or in the microwave oven for about 2 minutes (it needs to be melted and smooth), and then stir in the apricot jam and nectar and pour over the fruit mix. Stir in- by hand.
8. Tip the cake mixture into your prepared tin. Smooth the top and tap the pan firmly against the work top to settle contents and remove air holes. The cake does not have much ‘rise’ in it so almost fill the pan to the top.
9. Bake for 2 ½ - 3 hours (don’t rush this and don’t use fan forced on your oven setting) until a skewer test comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin (take the cardboard off the outside), wrap in some old clean towels.
10. After three hours, keep the cake in the tin and use a skewer and put lots of holes in the top of the cake, carefully spoon at least 2-3 tablespoons (more like the best bit of a cup if you are game) of rum or brandy into the holes, wrap in towel and leave overnight.
11. Cake may be wrapped in plastic film or foil and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for many months.