So here’s a thing. The kitchen has been finished for over a week. We’re all moved in and fortunately we're really pleased. (Just as well, these things ain’t cheap). There's only one bit of snagging so far, one shelf isn’t quite level when loaded. A simple job. The problem is; what’s next on the practical agenda?
A few days ago I made our Christmas Cake. I know it’s a bit late but the kitchen came first. Today I made a fruit cake. This cake I modified a little to give it a bit more of a Christmas vibe. I’m about as far from a cake maker as you can get but I’m pleased with today’s effort. As with many things I found this recipe online which I thought I might share. I’ll put a link at the end of the post.
The recipe is called Everyday Fruit Cake. I’ve plagiarised and adapted the words to pass it off as if I know what I’m talking about. This Everyday Fruit Cake is cooked in a loaf tin and is bleddy simple. Just weigh, stir and cook.
The beauty of this cake is that you can use whatever dried fruit you have, add nuts and cherries or anything you like or have. The only thing you have to remember is to keep the total weight to 400g. For this particular version I used 50g chopped nuts, 50g candied peel and 300g mixed fruit which included cranberries and apricots. I also put in a rounded teaspoon of jam, any old jam will do. Failing that try marmalade or honey or golden syrup. Go easy or it'll be too sweet.
To make this fruit cake easy, I use the all-in-one method. (I also use the all-in-one method for Mary Berry’s Victoria sponge). For this I use our cheap hand held mixer. I bung everything into a mixing bowl except the fruit, nuts and in this case peel. Whizz away until it’s all mixed up then with a wooden spoon stir in the fruit, nuts et al. (If you whizz the fruit and nuts up at the same time you'll end up with a fruit mush).
Then you need something to cook it in. I use a loaf tin which I line with a liner, of course, to make life easy, reduce washing up and make storage easy. You can cook it in anything you fancy. I’ve even cooked a cake in a (new) flower pot.
It takes me about 20mins to get everything ready and mixed up. Of course this depends on how I’m feeling. Then I cook it for about 1 hr 15mins before I take it out in 10min intervals to jab it with my skewer to see if its cooked. Maybe another 30min.
So of you’re determined or daft enough to give it a go you’ll need; 400 g mixed dried fruit. Remember my Christmas vibe. 125 g butter at room temperature (not melted, careful with that microwave). 3 large eggs. I always use free range eggs because we all should. 60 ml milk, 1 rounded tablespoon strawberry jam, I actually prefer apricot but we only had strawberry. 125 g soft brown sugar dark or light, today I went for dark to continue the seasonal theme. 250 g self-raising flour, today I used plain flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder because the flour was on date. To finish off I put in 2 teaspoons of mixed spice. I also bunged in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for fun.
If you’re still reading you may be close, like me, to becoming a baking charlatan.
So what I do is ; Turn the oven to 150°C fan, Pop a liner into my tin, weigh the fruit, nuts and other stuff into a bowl for later, Put all the other ingredients into a large bowl to whizz up (butter, eggs, milk, jam, sugar, flour, spice). Whizz it , but don’t overdo it. Add the dried fruit and stir in by hand. You don't want to break up the fruit.
Carefully put the mixture in the tin then bung it in the hot oven for 1h and 15mins, and test with a skewer. When it comes out clean the cake is done. If not, return to the oven for 10 minutes and repeat. When it’s done take the cake out of the oven and leave in the tin for 10mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
When you’ve finished store in an airtight box . (You can leave the liner on until the cake is scoffed).
Eat it with your coffee tomorrow at the 10am Coffee Club.
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