It can be satisfying to put in all the effort and involvement of making a serious cake for a special occasion, but there are times when its just easier to churn out a quick cake. This recipe makes quite a moist cake, which is not as heavy as a traditional fruit cake.
To Make the Cake
To bake this cake, you will need a 7" (18cm) square or 8" (20cm) round cake tin (the type with the push out bottom is easiest to use).
- 120g/4oz Margarine
- 170g/6oz Sugar
- 340g/14oz Dried fruit - this can be a mixture of raisins, sultanas, cherries, peel... whatever you fancy!
- 225ml/8floz Water
- 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 half tsp Mixed spice
- 2 Beaten Eggs
- 120g/4oz Plain flour
- 120g/4oz Self-raising Flour
- Pinch of Salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4 (the middle bottom right hand oven of a four-door Aga, if you're that lucky).
Prepare the tin by applying a thin layer of margarine and lining with two layers of greaseproof paper.
Put the margarine, sugar, fruit, water, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Bring to boil and simmer for one minute.
Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool1.
Add eggs, flour and salt to cooled mixture. Mix well and pour into prepared tin.
Bake for about an hour and a quarter. You may need to put brown paper over the top if the cake starts to singe before it is cooked throughout.
The cake is ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean - leave to cool on a wire rack.
This is a very forgiving recipe; you don't even have to be very precise with the measuring out.
The cake should keep for a couple of months wrapped in aluminium foil in a tin, and can be 'spiked' with brandy (or whatever you fancy) before being covered in marzipan and icing for Christmas. Unlike more traditional fruit cake recipes, you can eat it straight away if you want to, without even waiting for it to cool completely.
To Spike a Cake
Take a skewer and insert it into the cake about a dozen times in an evenly spaced pattern. Then pour a tablespoon or two of brandy over the surface of the cake. Wrap it up in aluminium foil and leave for a few days, then pour more alcohol over it, and wrap it up and put it away again.
It can be given several doses, depending on preference, and on whether you have any brandy left.