I tried my hand at a fruit cake a few weeks back. The traditional kind you know, with a chockfull of nuts and fruits… very heavy and dense. This was the cake that you get at Christmas and weddings…and conventionally soaked in a strong liquor like brandy or rum. But I didn’t want to bake the liquored-up version of fruitcake cos not many in my family like booze-except me of course. *grin* But even I don’t fancy the likes of brandy and rum, and especially when it’s in cake. So I tried this non-alcoholic version, which seemed to work out fine. The smells that engulfed the house when it was baking was really yummy…so warm and heady, what will all the spices that went into the batter. And it was quite a fuss-free recipe too. I just had to boil most of the ingredients together and once the mixture had cooled, stir in the flour and eggs. Really, that was all. The only finicky bit was lining the tin and wrapping the sides with newspaper but I’m certain you could do that in under 30 minutes…15 even if you’re used to lining baking tins.
The only query I had was to do with the maturing of the cake. Fruitcake tastes best when it’s left to sit for weeks or even months, with frequent brushing of brandy or rum. The liquor will soak through into the cake and moisten it. Well, what does one do for a non-alcohol version? My fruitcake has been tightly wrapped in clingfilm and stored in an airtight container but there’s no ‘feeding’ to be done! Any suggestions anyone?
I may just brush the cake over with freshly-squeezed orange juice over the next few weeks to moisten it and see what happens…
Boiled fruit cake (from AllRecipes)
2 cups dried mixed fruit*
1 cup chopped glace cherries*
¼ cup candied mixed peel*
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cup butter, cubed
1 cup milk
¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg and ginger
½ tsp baking soda
2 2/3 cups self raising flour, sifted
*These were the proportions in the original recipe but you can change it around to suit your tastes. I love candied fruit peel so I added more of that and reduced the mixed fruit. Just as long as the quantity of fruits remains at 3¼ cups I think alls good.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F. Line sides and bottom of a 8” round tin with baking paper and grease the paper.
2. Combine all ingredients except the flour and
eggs in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stie in eggs (beaten) and flour. Pour into tin.
4. Wrap the outside of the tin with newspaper and carefully place in oven. I secured the newspaper with a rubber band but I think the recommended way is to do it with twine.
5. Bake at 325 degree F for 40 minutes, then reduce temperature to 300 degree F and continue to bake for 1½ hours, until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
6. Cool in tin, turn out and peel off lining paper. Tightly wrap in clingfilm and store in an airtight container. If you want a boozed up fruitcake, brush the cake with brandy/rum once every week. Technically, this cake lasts indefinitely but I think a good time to mature it would be about a month.