Traditional English Rich Fruit Cake

RICH FRUIT CAKE

This traditional English Rich Fruit Cake recipe makes a rich fruit cake that is perfect for Weddings, Christenings and other Celebrations as well as for the traditional English Christmas Cake. With the rising popularity of traditional styled and Royal Iced cakes fruit cakes are again getting fashionable!

This fruit cake recipe gives a dark moist cake, sweet and fruity. We used this recipe at Party Animal for over 20 years and it never failed to get a good response whether used for Christmas, weddings or any other special occasion.

It is best to bake the cake at least one month and preferably about 3 months before use so that it matures and the flavours develop.

This recipe makes an 8″ square / 9″ round cake approximately 3″ deep.

Ingredients

The fruit Mix

Fruit and Nut mix for Rich Fruit Cake

  • 295g raisins
  • 295g sultanas
  • 280g currants
  • 145g dried apricots
  • 175g glace cherries
  • 100g mixed peel (some people leave this out but as long as it is well soaked
    it adds an extra ‘bite’ to the mix)
  • 100g chopped nuts (I personally use a mix of almond nibs, almond flakes and chopped walnuts)
  • 12ml finely grated lemon rind
  • 35ml fresh lemon juice
  • 60ml brandy or we use what we know as ‘soaking mix’ – 2 parts sherry: 1 part rum: 1 part brandy – a perfect mix for flavour and the alcohol content is unimportant as that will burn off during cooking – that’s why you can use this even for teetotallers!

The Cake Batter Mix

Ingredients for the fruit cake batter

  • 325g dark brown sugar
  • 325g butter
  • 30ml a mix of treacle and golden syrup – I use a 50:50 mix but if you prefer a darker less sweet cake just use treacle
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 20ml (4tspn) mixed spice
  • 70g ground almonds
  • 370g plain flour

Method

Soak the fruit

Chop the apricots and cherries to taste – You can chop finely for a more even dispersion but I like to have some larger pieces of cherry in the mix as I find this give a moister taste to the cake.
Adding Lemon Juice to the Fruit Mix
Add all the dried fruit, cherries and apricots to a bowl along with the lemon juice and rind, chopped nuts, and soaking mix. Mix well and cover or place into a sealed food box.

Leave for at least overnight but preferably for 3-4 days and up to about 1 week is fine. This will allow the fruit to soak up the liquid. Shake or stir occasionally to make sure all the fruit gets soaked thoroughly. This helps with plumping up the fruit for a moist cake finish.The fruit ready to soak

Bake the Cakes

Line a greased tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and grease well.

Preheat oven to approx 140°C
cake batter for rich fruit cake
Cream together the sugar and butter then add the eggs. Mix in the remaining ingredients including treacle, spice, almonds and flour. Mix until smooth and then stir in the soaked fruit and any juice that is left. I find this is a good time to get clean hands involved! It is much easier to mix evenly using your hands when the fruit is added.
The finished rich fruit cake mix ready to bake
Fill the prepared tins with the rich fruit cake mixture and smooth with a damp spoon. (A good trick to make sure the mix is even is to bang the tins down a few times which should remove any air pockets.) The damp spoon should leave the top damp. This will help the top surface to cook without drying out.

Bake in a preheated oven at approx 140°C. for about 3 - 3½ hours.

Ovens vary greatly so if you find that the cake is beginning to peak or crack turn down the oven and cook for a little longer.

To test - press surface of cake lightly - it should feel firm to the touch. Take out cake and listen to it! If it sings (whistles) it is not quite ready so pop back in for a minute or two.
baked-fruit-cake
Leave to cool in the tin until you can pick up the tin easily without gloves. This gives the cake time to settle and set up a bit. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To Store

Brush the cake surface with some brandy or other spirit. You will need about 60ml. We usually use what we term our 'feeding mix'. This is 2 parts brandy: 1 part rum: 1 part sherry and gives a good flavour to the cakes. Unlike when you are soaking the fruit, you will need to use fruit juice or sugar syrup to feed your cakes for teetotallers as the alcohol remains in the cakes. If you pierce the cake surface with a fine skewer before feeding you will get the feeding mix deeply into the cake.

Cut some greaseproof paper for the top of the cake and then wrap in foil. Finally wrap in Cling Film and store in a cool dry place.

Rich fruit cakes can be stored for up to 6 months before using. From time to time open up and feed with more feeding mixture to add more flavour and keep moist. Do not overdo it or your cakes will be soggy and difficult to decorate.
fruit-cake-slice

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