Easy Fruit Cake Recipe
Yields about 36 pieces (6cm by 4.5cm by 2cm)
We recommend making this cake at least a few days before serving as the flavour and texture improve over time.
This cake contains sherry, but you could substitute brandy, rum, whiskey or water if preferred.
We have specified the types of dried fruit, glace fruit and nuts that we use in the cake. If you don't wish to use a fruit or nut that we've specified, we suggest that you replace it with an equivalent quantity of something similar. For example, the pecans could be replaced with walnuts and the glace cherries could be replaced with glace apricots.
When chopping the dates, prunes and pecans, cut them into pieces about the size of a raisin.
We use a 20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup for all of our recipes.
125g butter, roughly chopped (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt)
170g (3/4 cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) sweet sherry
125ml (1/2 cup) water
200g (1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons) raisins
200g (1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons) sultanas
100g glace cherries, chopped into thirds (slightly rounded 1/2 cup)
50g (about 7) deseeded dried dates, chopped
50g (about 7) deseeded prunes (dried plums), chopped
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice (a combination of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g (1 cup) plain flour
150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
50g (rounded 1/3 cup) chopped/broken pecans
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
Grease the base and sides of a deep 19cm (inside side measurement) square cake pan. We use a silver-coloured cake pan; if a dark-coloured pan is used the sides and base of the fruit cake may overbrown. Line the base and sides of the pan with three layers of baking paper, extending the paper about 2.5cm above the top of the pan.
Place butter, brown sugar, sherry, water, raisins, sultanas, cherries, dates, prunes, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda in a large saucepan.
Place saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Remove saucepan from heat as soon as the mixture boils (most or all of the fruit will be covered by a layer of foamy bubbles).
Transfer mixture to a large heatproof bowl, or leave in the saucepan (the cake batter can be mixed in the saucepan if desired). Set mixture aside for about 40 minutes to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.
While the fruit mixture is cooling, adjust the oven rack to the lower half of the oven, so the top of the cake will be in the centre of the oven. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. We find that the cake cooks more evenly when the oven fan is off. If you have a fan-forced oven and are unable to turn the fan off, preheat your oven to 140 degrees Celsius.
Place the plain flour and self-raising flour in a medium bowl, stir until well combined, and set aside. © exclusivelyfood.com.au
After the fruit mixture has cooled for about 40 minutes, add the pecans and lightly beaten eggs.
Stir until well combined.
Add the combined flours and stir until the flour is completely incorporated.
Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Smooth the surface of the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a thin-bladed knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out without any batter attached.
Leave cake in pan, loosely cover with greaseproof paper, and then tightly wrap in a clean tea towel. Place wrapped cake on a wire rack and leave until completely cooled (this will probably take at least six hours).
Remove cooled cake from pan and store in an airtight container. If storing the cake for an extended time, we store it in the refrigerator. Cut the cake into pieces with a sharp serrated knife. © www.exclusivelyfood.com.au