I recently made a wedding cake for one of my husband’s friends. They wanted a 2-tier cake with one tier being fruit cake. It’s not a big deal, but I’ve never made fruit cake before… so the experimenting began! I tried three recipes – all nice, but seemed bland. So, I took the ingredients I liked from each recipe and came up with a modified version. It’s not a dark fruit cake, but you can add Parisian Browning Essence if you like (I did this with my second attempt at fruit cake, and I didn’t like it much so left it out).
975g Dried Mix Fruit (I used home brand)
400g glacé cherries, quartered
1 cup (250ml) brandy, plus 1 tablespoon to glaze
230g soft dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons golden syrup
350g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Put fruit in a bowl with 1 cup brandy and soak overnight.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Lightly grease a deep 22cm round cake tin. Line the cake tin with baking paper (sides and bottom).
Wrap a folded piece of newspaper around the outside of the tin and tie securely with twine.
Beat the margarine and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters until just combined. Beat in the jam and golden syrup.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Stir the fruit and the combined sifted flour and spices alternatively into the mixture.
Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Tap the tin on the bench to remove any air bubbles. Dip your hands in water and level the surface. Sit the cake on several layers of newspaper in the oven and bake for 2.5hrs (the original recipe stated 3hrs, but I checked mine in 2 then 2.5hrs and it was truly done!). Bake until skewer comes out clean.
Brush with the extra tablespoon of brandy. Cover the top of the cake with paper and wrap in a tea towel.
Leave to cool completely in the tin.
Why the newspaper you ask? Because the cake takes a long time to bake, the newspaper will act as insulation to prevent the bottom and sides from over-baking.