Today I have just baked a fruit cake for my dad as its his birthday. Neither of my family like the traditional sponge cake with jam filling and covered in icing, with my mum having her chocolate Victoria sponge cake yesterday and my dad choosing to have a fruit cake today! So today I thought I’d share my approach to baking a quick and easy fruit cake 😁.
Many fruit cakes recipes you find out there will have nuts as part of it,either ground up or added to the top. Me personally,and my parents too actually prefer cakes without nuts, finding that it causes the cake to dry out quicker. Plus with many people having nut allergies it automatically means not everyone can tuck into it! So my take on the basic fruit cake is to leave nuts out the equation!
Even though fruit cakes are a step up from your sponge cake, this recipe is still basic enough and quick to make (the Christmas cake doesn’t differ too much but you do need to prepare the ingredients longer in advance due to soaking the fruit in alcohol,this makes the ingredients denser and therefore takes longer to bake).
For the ingredients of this cake you will need
- 225g of butter
- 225g of caster sugar
- 4 large eggs (I always go for happy free range ones,not only so I know the chickens are not cooped up in awful factories but you can taste the difference!)
- 225g self raising flour
- 450g dried fruit
- 20cm round tin to put cake mix in
As mentioned in my baking tips post I always pre prepare everything so that it is all to hand straight away and easy to add to your mix without having to stop and measure at each stage as below:
Beforehand I’ll also grease the tin with butter and line with baking paper. For those who haven’t baked before this is to ensure while your cake is baking it doesn’t cook to the tin making it impossible to remove. You will need to put your oven on before the cake, this will ensure it is hot and the cake mix can start to heat up and cook straight away. Putting a mix into a cold oven will lead to a sad looking cake because the mix will already be changing and trying to rise. By the time the cooker has got hot enough the cake will have changed density to an extent it won’t cook properly. All cookers are different, but recommended temperatures are 160 degrees C/fan 140°C/325°F/ or if gas gas mark 3.
- Stage one, is to mix your butter and sugar until your mix is nice and fluffy. You can use a mixer if you have one, I prefer the old fashioned using my hands with a wooden spoon and bowl!
- Stage two is to add the eggs one at a time to your mix. You will need to fold the mix over the eggs before mixing well. If you try and mix all the eggs in at the same time you risk the mix curdling and ruining the taste. Ensure that after each time you put an egg in you have mixed it up well enough you cannot see any raw yolk still. You may find it looks like it is going to curdle still,my trick is to add a bit of extra sugar (when I say but I mean a bit! Maybe a quarter of a teaspoon).
- Now you will need to add your flour and fold it in gently into the mix. Again don’t be tempted to pour all the flour in at once. And before doing anything make sure you’ve sifted the flour. This will ensure there are no lumpy bits of flour which if not blended well will leave a flour clump at the end of the bake,not a tasty find! I tend to add a bit at a time into the liquid mix, folding then stiring until I’m sure all the flour has been absorbed into the mix fully. At the end you will be left with a thickened but still fluffy mix.
- The final part of this cake mix is to add in the fruit. Now it’s important to ensure you really stir the fruit around the mix so it is evenly spread. The fruit is obviously denser than the mix, if you don’t stir and spread the fruit it will all sink to the bottom of the tin and will create an uneven bake and fruit bottom cake!
- Now all you need to do is spread your mix into the tin and place in the oven. Make sure you spread the mix evenly as possible to ensure an even bake. If one side is denser than the other, you’ll find one part of the cake baking quicker than the other. This can lead to either burning or one part of the cake coming out raw.
Depending on your oven the mix can take from 1.5 to 2 hours to bake. Try not to be tempted to keep opening the oven door to check as the sudden drop in temperature can lead to the cake not rising properly. At the end you should be left with a lovely cake like below!
Happy baking and happy eating if you decide to give it a go! As to me,I’m going to have a large slice then go for a run to burn it off 😜 If you think you have a nicer fruit cake with different ingredients then please do let me know!