Fruit Cake

Another recipe request – I have given friends chunks of this old fashioned porter cake often and made it to be iced for celebration cakes many a time.  It always goes down well.  It is probably my favourite fruit cake recipe – it is moist, takes less time to bake than most fruit cake recipes and lasts for ages. In fact, it does seem even better a couple of days after it has been made. It lasts so well I make it to take away on long self catering summer holidays.  I double wrap it with greaseproof paper and then foil.

Heat the oven to 150C, grease and line the base of a 20cm deep cake tin.

Put the following ingredients into a large pan: 175g/6oz butter/margarine (reduced fat spread works fine – look at the label and check that it is around 60g/100g fat), 450g/1 lb mixed dried fruit, the juice and zest of 1 orange, 175g/6oz light muscavado sugar and 200ml/7 floz Porter or dark beer (I find Pelforth or Leffe Brune work really well and the bottles are about the right size).  If you don’t want to use beer I have made this cake replacing the beer with orange juice and although it doesn’t taste quite the same the recipe works.  Bring these ingredients slowly to the boil and then simmer for 15mins.

Cool for 10mins then stir in 1tsp bicarbonate of soda which makes the mixture foam.

Stir in 3 beaten eggs into the pan.  Sift in 300g/10 oz plain flour, 2tsp mixed spice and mix well.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and smooth with the back of a spoon.  If you are not planning to ice the cake then sprinkle demarara sugar on the top and flaked almonds.  Bake for 75 – 90 mins until a knife or skewer comes out clean.  Leave in the pan for 15min and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

I have made this in a hurry so didn’t simmer as long as supposed to or let it cool for 10 minutes, didn’t sift the flour and it turned out pretty good!  I have this recipe in a folder and I think it originate from a booklet that came with a magazine (probably the BBC Good Food Magazine) ages ago.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Miki Rohrer says:

    Fruit cake is a served in Jamaica at Christmas celebrations and weddings. Slightly different than the Christmas fruit cake you find in Europe or the United States, this cake is potent and rich. In the Jamaican tradition, you make many cakes at once, because it is polite to offer cake to house guests during the holiday season. If you want to adopt this tradition, you may want to double or triple the rum cake recipe. Find out how to make Jamaican rum cake.’

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    1. Hi Miki, I love Jamaican fruitcake. Someone I used to work with introduced it to the team one celebration where we all brought in cake etc. It smelt so gorgeous but I have to say, I wouldn’t have eaten it if I had been driving!!! I made one from a recipe I found for my Dad as a birthday cake – he approved of it enormously! I hear that many Carribbean households would have a jar of fruit soaking in rum all ready to make a cake just topping up with rum and fruit as necessary. I imagine the alcohol in the cake would act as a preservative making the cake last really well. In the UK, fruit cake are often ‘fed’ after baking with brandy. Holes are made in the cake and the cake has brandy drizzled on the cake on a weekly basis obtaining a similar effect although nowhere near as potent as you get when you steep the fruit in rum. From a nutritionist perspective, this is most definitely a food for special occasions. Thanks for your post.


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