Fruit cakes really don’t need cane sugar and I find them sickly sweet if they do. They are perfectly fine with just their fruit bounties and I’ve been tinkering with this take on the traditional boiled fruit cake for decades now. This is my latest version:
Preheat oven to 180 Celsius
1 generous cup of mixed fruit (glace cherries removed!)
1/2 cup chopped, dried apricots
2 free range eggs (gently beaten)
125 grams butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One and a half cups of water (you may need a little more)
2 cups wholemeal, self-raising flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
Grab a large saucepan and into it toss all the dried fruit, water, vanilla extract, butter, bicarbonate soda and mixed spice.
Place on a low heat over the stove, bring to the boil then reduce heat so the mixture simmers for about 5 minutes. Watch it like a hawk as the bicarb tends to unfold a kitchen Vesuvius. After 5 minutes, take off heat and cool in saucepan. In fact, you only need one mixing utensil for this cake – the saucepan.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add the almond meal, baking powder and flour. Mix well with a steady stir. The mixture needs to look moist but not runny!!
Line a cake tin with greaseproof paper and spoon mixture in.
Bake in the oven for about 1 hour ( I’d check after fifty minutes). To see if cooked, place a skewer into cake and, if it comes out clean, your fruity beauty is ready.
Turn cake out onto a cake cooler and, if you can manage it, leave cake to compose itself before consuming.