Tuesday 12th November 2013
Fruit cake is one of those oft-overlooked wonders in the cake maker’s recipe book. There it sits, unappreciated, while we’re off with visions of our next buttercream frosted delight dancing in our heads. But the humble fruit cake is about to be seen in homes up and down the country, as Christmas is just around the corner.
To help you bake the perfect fruit cake, with a delicious chocolatey twist, cake maker extraordinaire Sandra Monger has offered up this amazing recipe. Follow Sandra’s guidelines and you’ll rediscover the simple joys of making a moist and tasty fruit cake for the festive season.
Once you’ve gathered your supplies, pop your pinny on, roll up your sleeves and get baking.
But before you dash off, remember the end result relies on proper planning, so the day before you want to bake your cake you’ll need to prep the fruit. Wash and dry your sultanas and cut your glacé cherries into quarters then throw them into a bowl with the dried cranberries. Grate in the orange zest and splash in your rum before mixing it all up. Cover this boozy-fruity mix and leave it in the fridge overnight to allow all the mouth-watering flavours to infuse.
Now you’re ready for the main event. Make sure you’ve gathered all your ingredients together and have weighed them out. Once we get going you don’t want to be held up while measuring things.
1. Chop the toasted hazelnuts and set them to one side, you’ll need them later but it’s a fiddly job so get it out of the way first.
2. Take an 8 inch round cake tin, grease it and line with baking paper. Make sure you secure three layers of brown paper around the tin with a piece of string.
3. Now preheat your oven to 140 degrees Celsius. That’s 275 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 1 in old money.
4. Take your dark chocolate and break it into chunks before melting it in three tablespoons of water.
5. Resist the urge to have a taste!
6. Now, cream your light brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract together. You want the consistency to be light and fluffy, so keep going until it’s perfect.
7. Crack open an egg and whisk it into the mix. Repeat for each egg, making sure each one is whisked in thoroughly before adding the next.
8. Remember that melted chocolate? How could you forget, it’s been tempting you all this time hasn’t it? Take it and whisk it into the mix until it’s all absorbed.
9. Take a sieve and sift your flour, mixed spice and cocoa powder. Fold them into the mix until combined.
10. Fold in the dried fruit mix you made the previous day, and the hazelnuts. Make sure the fruit and nuts are well distributed throughout the mix. You want an even spread to make sure that each slice is fruity, juicy and tasty.
11. Pour the mixture into the tin and level off using the back of a wet tablespoon (this will ensure that you have a nice flat top for icing).
12. Place it in the oven and bake for about 3 ½ to 4 hours. You’ll know the cake is ready when the top is firm and a skewer comes out clean
Voila, a delicious variation on the traditional fruit cake.
We asked Sandra Monger her top tip for storing your cake and she said, ‘to keep, first wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and then wrap in tin foil. This will lock all the freshness in. Store in a cool dark place, perhaps in a cupboard where it won’t get dented. Plus you can feed it by making holes in cake with a skewer and drizzling with your alcohol of choice.’
This can be enjoyed once baked, but why not take some of our marzipan and white ready to roll icing [link to product bundle] and create an amazing Christmas cake? One of the great things about fruit cake is it keeps for a long time, so you can put it to one side before decorating it nearer to Christmas.