For those of you who like to be organised now is an ideal time to start to prepare your Classic Fruit Cake for the festive season and start preparing your Christmas pudding, mincemeat and your Christmas cake. This is my go-to recipe for fruitcake, rich and flavoursome enough for a christening or wedding cake or our family Christmas Cake, it is a sufficiently sturdy bake to carry the weight of marzipan and icing and can be used in tiers. It is a real favourite and we bake at least one a month, it is a great match for a nice crumbly cheese like Wensleydale or Caerphilly. I haven’t specified the dried fruit you can use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, apricots, cranberries, prunes or figs and you can omit the nuts if you prefer and add an extra eighty grams of flour. I use raisins, sultanas, lots of cherries and dried mixed peel.
Classic Fruit Cake
750 gr Mixed Dried Fruit
200 gr Self Raising Flour
250 gr soft Unsalted Butter
250 gr light Brown Sugar
100 gr Ground Almonds
75 gr Flaked Almonds
5 large free-range Eggs
1 tablespoon Black Treacle
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
A generous pinch of Ground Cloves
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Almond extract
100 ml Brandy, Whisky or Bourbon
Zest and juice of 1 Orange
Zest and juice of 1 Lemon
Buttered, lined, deep twenty-centimeter cake tin
Put the dried fruit, zest and juice and alcohol into a large bowl and leave for twenty-four hours stirring occasionally.
Heat oven to 150C / 300 F / Gas Mark 2. Put a damp cloth onto the work surface and place your largest mixing bowl on top. Add the softened butter, sugar, treacle and almond essence and cream together. Crack the eggs one by one into a small bowl to check they are fresh, then combine and whisk together. Sift the flour, spices and baking powder into another bowl.
Add the egg mix in batches and beat into the butter and sugar mix. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour with each batch to prevent the mix from splitting. When all of the egg is mixed in add the remaining flour and spice mix and fold together until thoroughly combined. Add the soaked fruits and flaked almonds and gently stir together. Tip the cake mix into your prepared cake tin, and tap on the work surface to knock out any pockets of air. Place in the centre of the oven bake for an hour, cover the top with two layers of baking paper and turn the oven down to 140C / 275 F / Gas Mark 1 and cook for around two and a half to three more hours or until a wooden skewer inserted in the cakes centre comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool. To feed your cake poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over tablespoons of your chosen alcohol, wrap in fresh baking paper and tin foil and place in a biscuit tin or plastic tub. Feed the cake with two tablespoons of alcohol every fortnight, until you marzipan it before icing.
Allergens in this recipe are;
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