Plump Fruit Cake. This dense, fruit-packed plum cake is made in one saucepan with no fuss, it is perfect to decorate as your Christmas cake.
Preparation 20 mins | Cooking 2-2 ½ hours | Makes 1 x 25cm (10 in) cake | Vegetarian & Nutfree
“Both of us Lucys love fruit cake and both of us have our favourite fast or boiled fruit cake recipe. Which to share with you was the question? So we had a bake off – mine was delicious, although I say it myself, but I had to concede. This recipe, that the other Lucy has been making for years, is simply stunning. Kept for a day it tastes like it has matured over months, is dense with fruit and packed with flavour. Made in one saucepan with no fuss, it is perfect to decorate as your Christmas cake. Use fruit cake mix or any dried fruit – it’s a great opportunity to use up oddments from your store cupboard.”
80 g (3 oz) golden (corn) syrup
80 g (3 oz) black treacle (molasses)
50 g (2 oz) strong-flavoured clear honey
250 g (9 oz/1 ¼ cups) soft dark brown sugar
200 g (7 oz) double (heavy) cream
7 g ( ¼ oz) mixed spice
250 g (9 oz) butter, at room temperature
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
400 g (14 oz) chopped prunes
100 g (3 ½ oz) mixed dried fruit
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 g (1/8 oz) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
brandy, to taste
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Line a 25 cm (10 in) round, deep cake tin with baking paper.
2 Gently heat the syrup, treacle, honey, sugar, cream and spice in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, and bring to the boil. Allow to cool slightly, then add the butter, a knob at a time, and stir until melted. Add the orange and lemon zest.
3 Add the eggs, beat until combined, then add the fruit and mix well.
4 Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and stir until evenly mixed. Spoon into the tin and bake for about 2–2½ hours, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Dribble over a few spoonfuls of brandy and leave to cool in the tin.
5 When cold, generously dribble with more spoonfuls\ of brandy, remove from the tin and wrap well in foil (leaving the cake in the baking paper). If icing the cake, leave for 5 days before icing (giving it a couple more feeds of brandy, if desired). It will keep for a good few weeks in an airtight container.
This is an edited extract from Lucy’s Bakes by Lucy Cufflin published by Hardie Grant RRP $49.95 available in stores nationally.