Yummy Recipes

Boozy Baking and a Squeeze of Lemon in My Tea: Rich Fruit Cake (DIY Wedding Cake)


** There’s a Newer Version of this Recipe Here. **

 

 

I’ve recently been on a mission to make the perfect rich fruit cake.  I’m probably a good 3 months late posting this as a Christmas Cake recipe (or maybe I’m just really on the ball for Christmas 2011…after all this baby will only get better with age) but if you’re looking into making your own wedding cake then this recipe is easy, tasty and stores well for months.  I’ll mention alternative ingredients (it’s really flexible) at the bottom of this post.  This recipe is for an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake or a 7 in (18 cm) square cake.  Head over here for the different quantities for different sized tiers.

I also posted  photo tutorial of How to Feed Your Rich Fruit Cake if you’re planning to mature your cake for a few weeks (or months) you’ll want to keep it nice and moist.


Ingredients

  • 450g (1 lb) of Currants
  • 175g (6 oz) of Sultanas
  • 175g (6 oz) of Raisins
  • 50g (2 oz) of glacé cherries (rinsed and finely chopped)
  • 50g (2 oz) of mixed peel, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of Brandy
  • 225g (8 oz) of Plain (All Purpose) Flour
  • 1/2 a level teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 a level teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 a level teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 50g (2 oz) of Almonds (chopped, skins on or off)
  • 225g (8 oz) of Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 level dessert spoon of Black Treacle
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
  • 225g (8 oz) of Unsalted Butter
  • 4 eggs
  • Grated Rind of 1 Lemon
  • Grated Rind of 1 Orange

1/ In a large bowl place the currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel and glace cherries.  Add in the spirits (I used dark rum this time).

Give it a stir and cover the bowl with a cloth (I use a clean tea towel).

Leave to soak for a bare minimum of 12 hours.  I soak mine for up to 5 days.  If you’d like to soak them for even longer I’d recommend a glass jar with a lid.  I’ve heard of people soaking their dried fruit for as long as a whole year in a sealed jar in their pantry and just giving it a gentle shake every so often.

2/ Grease and line your tin with greaseproof paper/baking paper.  I’m notorious for throwing caution to the wind and not lining  my cake tin but for fruit cake it’s a must!

You’re slow baking this baby for a very long time and you don’t want it to get too brown on the outside.  I even go as far as to double line my tin (I know, shocking given my general laziness).

3/ Preheat your oven to 140C (275F, gas mark 1)

4/ Sift the flour, salt and spices into a bowl.

In a seperate large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

Whisk your eggs in a small bowl or jug.

5/ This bit is crucial to the success of your cake so don’t rush it.

One tablespoon at a time you’ll be adding the eggs to your creamed butter and sugar.  After each addition I find giving it a gentle stir before beating thoroughly with my mixer works best.

At some point (normally a few tablespoons in) your mixture may start to look like its going to separate (break/curdle).  Prevent this happening by adding a teaspoon of your flour mixture before continuing on adding the egg.

6/ After the egg has been added fold (don’t beat) in your flour and spice mixture.

7/ Gently stir through the black treacle and the vanilla extract.  Add the grated lemon and orange rinds.

8/ Fold in your soaked fruit and almonds before spooning the mixture into your prepared cake tin.  Smooth the mixture out with the back of a spoon.

9/ Before placing in the oven place a double square of greaseproof/baking paper resting over the top of your cake tin.  Cut a small hole in your square to allow steam to escape (about the size of a 50p coin).

10/ If your oven is fan forced turn the fan off.  Bake your cake on the lower shelf of your oven and resist the urge to open the door for a peek until its been baking for at least 4 hours.

11/ Bake for 4½-4¾ hours

12/ If your oven runs hot or cold and you are baking this cake for a wedding then it may be wise to invest in a thermometer to check the temperature of your oven.  After ending up with black edges a few times I found I needed to bake mine for only 4 hours and at 130C rather than 140C.


{ I always feel bad for the poor naked lemon used and abused for his zest.  The orange naturally gets gobbled up in no time but the lemon sits around till it goes mouldy a day or two later.  In the interest of not wasting the lemon I’ve taken to sitting down with a cup of tea (or 2…or 3) with a squeeze of lemon whilst waiting for the cake to bake }



13/ Remove your cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  Once completely cold wrap it in a double layer of greaseproof paper followed by a layer of aluminium foil.  Store in an airtight tin in a cool, dark spot (like the pantry).

14/ I would recommend leaving your fruit cake to mature for at least a month feeding it with your chosen spirit at regular intervals. My photo tutorial of how to feed your fruit cake can be found over here.  Basically every few weeks or so unwrap your cake and make a few holes in it by poking it with a skewer in the top.  Using a pastry brush and a few tablespoons of spirits in a glass or bowl gently brush over the top of your cake.  It will soak in nicely and then just wrap your cake back up in its layers (greaseproof/baking paper and then tightly bound in aluminium/aluminum foil) and store back in your tightly lidded tin.  It’s recommended you feed your cake every few weeks to a month.  In a mild climate like the U.K I forgot about mine for a few months and no mould grew on the cake (I checked thoroughly) nor did it dry out.  I can’t vouch for warmer climate’s so if you are somewhere where your pantry is likely to get warm despite your best efforts to keep your cake cool then you will probably want to be more vigilant with feeding it alcohol than me.

* Recipe adapted from Delia’s found here.


Variations:

Alcohol for Soaking

I’ve used Brandy, Dark Rum and Apricot Brandy with great results.  A few other alcoholic options are Cointreau, Sherry and Red Wine & Brandy.  For a non-alcoholic version you can use strong black tea or orange juice.  If you choose not to use alcohol you will need to store your cake in the freezer after the first few weeks to prevent spoilage without alcohol to preserve it.  I’m going to try soaking in Tia Maria for my next attempt.  I’ll report back on how it goes.

Dried Fruit

I like the meatiness of the currants in this recipe as they’re not overly sweet (goodness knows there’s enough sugar in this recipe) but you can mix and match really any dried fruits of your choice as long as the weight is the same.  A few suggestions:  dried cranberries in place of raisins, chopped dried prunes in place of sultanas.

Other Flavours

You can use ground cinnamon in place of nutmeg.  You can add a little orange juice/lemon juice or a bit of marmalade.  Just keep in mind that for every tablespoon of added liquid you’ll need approximately 1 ounce of extra flour to balance out the added moisture.

3 thoughts on “Boozy Baking and a Squeeze of Lemon in My Tea: Rich Fruit Cake (DIY Wedding Cake)”

  1. Ok, this is more involved than I can handle, but the end result looks fantastic! And I don’t eat fruit cake (I’ve been traumatized by some horrid renditions!) I tweeted it for you.

  2. Thanks for tweeting my post 🙂
    I think a lot of people have been put off by cheap grocery store fruit cake or cakes that just haven’t been aged properly. A well made and matured fruit cake is heavenly (sugary, buttery goodness drowned regularly in booze how can you go wrong?). Then again maybe they just aren’t for every one’s tastes. I’m looking forward to trying Nigella Lawson’s chocolate fruit cake (chocolate, coffee liquer and moist dense fruit cake? I’m salivating already).

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