I haven’t made a ‘proper’ fruit cake for quite a while now and there are, I think 3 left to bake, so I thought it about time another one was ticked off, otherwise I’m going to be left with all three to bake in one go.
Mary says this is an excellent cake to bake if you’re short of time, it’s quick to bake and needs no maturing. Sounds good to me!
The oven was put on to preheat at Fan 130°C and a 20cm (8″) deep round cake tin was lined and the base and sides lined. I’ve only just noticed now I’ve come to type this up that I should have double lined the base and sides. I didn’t, I only put a single layer of baking parchment in and luckily it turned out alright! Note to oneself – make sure you read the recipe through a couple of times before you start.
The first thing was to roughtly chop 100g of dried dates. I found the easiest way to do this was by snipping them into bits with a pair of scissors, rather than chopping them with a knife.
Into a medium saucepan I measured out 150g butter (Mary says softened butter, but I didn’t really see the point in this as it was to be melted, so mine came straight out of the fridge), 175g golden syrup, 175ml milk, 150g sultanas, 150g raisins, 50g currants, 50g chopped candied peel, 100g chopped walnuts and the 100g chopped dates. The pan was put over a gentle heat until the butter had melted. At this point it was left to simmer for 5 minutes before putting to one side to cool. I did stir it a few times too!
Into a large bowl I weighed out 225g plain flour, 2 level teaspoons ground mixed spice and 1/2 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. This was given a quick stir together and then the syrup mixture was added, together with 2 large eggs. I must admit I was slightly worried as my syrup mixture still appeared to be rather warm, even though it had been left for a good 10 minutes to cool – I had visions of my cake having huge chunks of scrambled egg in the middle of it. I quickly mixed it into the dry mixture and luckily I think the dry mixture cooled the syrup mixture down quickly. Thank goodness I’d also made this in one of my stainless steel bowls, as I think it was nice and cool, so helped to bring the temperature of the mixture down too.
The mixture was poured into the prepared tin and put in the oven for 1.5 hours. After this time my cake was still quite springy on the top, so I put it in for another 15 minutes, after which time it was nice and firm to the touch and a skewer came out clean from the centre. The cake was allowed to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing it.
Once it was removed, the parchment was peeled off and the top of the cake was pierced in several places with a skewer. A little brandy was spooned over the top (Mary does state 4 tablespoons, but I’m assuming that this is over a period of time as she says to wrap the cake up in parchment and feed at regular intervals – I think 4 tablespoons in one go would have resulted in a very soggy cake). The cake should be stored in a cool place until required.
I stored my cake for approximately two hours before my family decided it was time to cut it. It was delicious, a very moist fruit cake, not too heavy and tasted very rich, but not that boozy – although if you fed it more, I’m sure it would be quite ‘boozy’ by the end.
It was indeed a quick and easy fruit cake to make and a very tasty one too!