It was a while since we’d had a fruit cake (well Christmas actually, so not that long ago), and as I seem to have rather a lot of recipes still to bake under the Section ‘Fruit & Nut Cakes’ I decided to pick one from here. Looking through the recipe it wasn’t a heavy fruit cake but looked quite a light one.
As usual the oven was put on to preheat at 140°C and my 2lb loaf tin was lightly greased and the bottom lined with baking parchment.
The first thing to do was to weigh the cherries out (40g), cut them into quarters and then rinse them in a sieve under running water. Afterwards they were dried on kitchen paper. It seems such a shame to wash away that lovely sticky syrup, i don’t know about you, but I can’t resist picking a couple of cherries out of the pot and eating them, yum!
Reading through the recipe, I could see this was another all in one recipe, so my big mixing bowl was taken down from the shelf and into this went 100g softened butter (I had to soften it in the microwave as this was a spur of the moment bake and I hadn’t taken it out of the fridge beforehand), 100g caster sugar, 100g sultanas, 100g currants, 2 large eggs, 175g self-raising flour and 1 rounded tablespoon of marmalade. It does actually say chunky marmalade but having made my own orange marmalade just the other week (which was thinly sliced) I decide to use this instead. Hopefully it wouldn’t make a difference. Mary does state at the top of the recipe not to overdo the marmalade or the fruit will sink to the bottom of the cake as too much marmalade alters the sugar proportion of the recipe which in turn slackens the mixture and makes the fruit drop. Amazing what you can learn from baking!
Once all the other ingredients were in the bowl I remembered to add the cherries that had been put to one side and mixed everything together with a wooden spoon. I didn’t think there was any need for my electric mixer today. The mixture was turned into the tin and the top levelled. Guess what, just as I was tipping the mixture into the tin, who walked in – yes you’ve guessed, my daughter. It’s amazing how she seems to wander into the kitchen just as I have the remains of a bowl of cake mixture ready to scrape out and eat. The cake was put into the oven and my daughter and I scraped the bowl clean. It did taste good!
The cake was to remain in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Mine was in for 1hr 20 minutes as after this time it was well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle came out clean. If there’s one thing I do like, it’s the smell of a fruit cake cooking. After 10 minutes the cake was turned out of the tin and the parchment removed. It was put onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
There was one final step to the recipe. In a small bowl I warmed a tablespoon of my orange marmalade and brushed this over the top of the cake. From the picture in the book, I think Mary used more than a tablespoon of marmalade as the marmalade on top of her cake looks a lot thicker than on the top of mine. If you don’t want to use marmalade Mary says you can sprinkle the top with caster sugar before serving.
Once the marmalade had set it was time for the taste test. At first I thought I had over-baked it as the first slice (the end) appeared to look slightly dry, however I’m pleased to say it wasn’t, it was a lovely light moist cake with a lovely flavour. You couldn’t actually taste the marmalade in the cake, but you obviously could if you ate some of the top which had the marmalade spread over it. I obviously hadn’t overdone the marmalade as the fruit hadn’t sunk to the bottom, but was evenly spaced throughout the cake!
A definite success with the family and another recipe ticked off from this section of the book!
Excuse the photograph, it was late evening when I took it and under artificial light, so it appears rather bright!