Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Traditional Fruit Cake

I already have my Christmas cake made. Yes, I feel smug and a bit domesticy-goddessy! The cake is wrapped up tightly in brown paper and safely stowed upstairs in the spare room out of danger. It's drinking more alcohol than I did when I was in college on a regular basis. We're skint feeding the cake brandy.

I've been using the same recipe for fruit cake as long as I have been making it. This year is our (the recipe and me's) third anniversary. My cousin gave it to me and her friend gave it to her, I hope they won't mind me sharing with you. I think it's a recipe that was probably passed down through the family and it's nice to think how many Christmases, weddings and other special occasions it has been baked for in the past.

I normally ice in marzipan and then fondant before decorating. I want to do a bit of step-by-step here closer to the time on these bits so don't forget to check back.....

If you want to see something that will make you giggle, I will show you my first attempt at cake decorating, three long years ago, my first Christmas cake. I spotted a picture of three reindeer panned out  on a beach in a book. Not real reindeer obviously but sugarpaste ones. And I found it suitably amusing so I thought I would do that. I underestimated how long it would take and lost the will to complete the antlers before calling it a day. So my reindeer actually look like three sunbathing pigs. I hadn't noticed this, until I presented the cake to someone who called over for admiration and they were like 'oh lovely, sunbathing pigs' I turned to drink to help me think that comment was funny and then we ended up posing the pigs in strange locations.

But to make myself feel better 'cos your all laughing at me now. I also used this fruit cake recipe for the 10" layer of my wedding cake.... and here's a picture of that.....  I did it all myself, baking, icing, decorating and delivering *takes a bow*

The recipe was given with a strange list of ingredients, all a mixture of nothing exact, grammes and ounces. I will put both the original and what I make it out as.

Adrienne's Cousin Anne-Marie's Friend's Fruit Cake

Line an 8" circular tin with a double layer of greased parchment paper & place a layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin.

Original List of Ingredients
60z of brown sugar
8oz of flour
60z of butter
100g of chopped almonds
100g of ground almonds
1 packet of sultanas
1 packer of mixed fruit
1 tsp of nutmeg
2 tubs of cherries
1 tsp of mixed spice
1 tub of mixed peel
3 eggs
1 large orange
50ml of brandy + 40ml for pouring over the cake when cooked.


My List of Ingredients
170g soft brown sugar
170g butter
375g sultanas
375g mixed fruit
300g glace cherries, chopped
200g mixed peel
1 large orange
227g plain flour
100g chopped almonds
100g ground almonds
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
3 eggs
50ml brandy + a whole lot more.

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees (fan assisted)
Place the sugar, butter, sultanas, mixed fruit, cherries, mixed peel, 50ml brandy, zest and juice of the orange into a saucepan. Put the saucepan on a low heat until the sugar and butter have completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Mix the eggs together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, almonds and spices.
Add half the flour mixture and half the beaten eggs to the ingredients in the saucepan and mix well. Add the remaining flour mixture and eggs and again mix well.
Pour into the lined cake tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 2 hours 15 minutes. If you feel the cake is getting too brown on top, cover with a circle of greaseproof paper (this is called a cartouche to those in the know!)
After 2 hrs 15 mins, begin testing the cake with a dry skewer. Insert the skewer into the centre of the cake for 5 seconds, if the skewer comes out clean, the cake is cooked, if not leave in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes and check again.
When the cake is done, remove from the oven.
After 10-15 minutes pour a few tablespoons of brandy over the top of the warm cake.
Allow the cake to cool completely cold before removing from the tin.
Wrap the cake in parchment paper and then tin foil until feeding time.

To feed the cake
I don't know if this is right or wrong, but it's what I do. I use a clean skewer to poke a few holes through the cake and pour a couple of tablespoons of brandy over it. Then I just wrap it up again until the next time. For the next feeding, I turn the cake over and poke it in the bottom (snigger!) and pour another couple of tablespoons of the good stuff over it. I would probably give it about 3 or 4 feedings before Christmas, if I think of it.


  1. Great to have a family recipe to work from. As for your reindeer/pigs, they made me smile! That wedding cake is a masterpiece. Gorgeous work.

  2. Colette, I'm so excited, my first comment. I think you just made my day!

  3. Oh dear lord those pigs are hilarious!! Sounds like a great recipe, love ones that have been passed along. Great style of writing you have going on!

  4. Whatever about the cake, I just love the pigs, woops, I mean the reindeer. I can't believe you went to all that trouble, but it's totally unique. I absolutely love the wedding cake. Truly think your talents are wasted as an engineer!!

  5. That wedding cake is beautiful. The pigs or reindeers are keepers. You need to make them every year. They are brilliant!

  6. Ladies, you are making me blush! Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I wish I had the pigdeers in the attic with the rest of the Christmas decorations, but I'm not sure where they went to :) Chub probably ate them in the end!