My Classic Fruit Cake Recipe. If you are organised now is an ideal time to start to prepare your Classic Fruit Cake for the festive season. You can also start preparing your Christmas pudding, and your mincemeat. This is my go-to recipe for fruitcake, rich and flavoursome enough for a christening or wedding cake or our family Christmas Cake. This recipe is sufficiently sturdy bake to carry the weight of marzipan and icing and can be used in tiers.
We can find the origins of today’s classic fruit cake lie in fruit porridge. The porridge was eaten on Christmas Eve having fasted the previous day. Then over time more luxurious ingredients were added such as honey and spices. The spices are thought to symbolise the gifts given by the three wise men in the nativity story. Around the sixteenth century the mix was boiled in a basin over the hearth to make a for runner of the Christmas Pudding. In richer houses with ovens they add ground almonds and eggs and baked the ancestor of today’s Christmas cake.
My Classic Fruit Cake
It is a real favourite and we bake at one every couple of months. This recipe is a great match for a nice crumbly cheese like Wensleydale, this is a really Yorkshire tradition. I haven’t specified the dried fruit it’s a matter of personal choice. You can use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, apricots, cranberries, prunes or figs and you can omit the nuts if you prefer and add an extra eighty grams of flour. I use raisins, sultanas, lots of cherries and dried mixed peel. When the cake is made I add a splash or two of brandy or sherry before wrapping in baking paper. I continue to do this each fortnight until decorating.
Classic Fruit Cake
- Buttered, lined, deep twenty-centimeter cake tin
- 750 gr Mixed Dried Fruit
- 200 gr Self Raising Flour
- 250 gr soft Unsalted Butter
- 250 gr light Brown Sugar
- 100 gr Ground Almonds
- 75 gr Flaked Almonds
- 5 large free-range Eggs
- 1 tablespoon Black Treacle
- 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- A generous pinch Ground Cloves
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Almond extract
- 100 ml Brandy Whisky or Bourbon
- Zest and juice of 1 Orange
- Zest and juice of 1 Lemon
- Put the dried fruit, zest and juice and alcohol into a large bowl and leave for twenty-four hours stirring occasionally.
- Heat oven to 150C / 300 F / Gas Mark 2. Put a damp cloth onto the work surface and place your largest mixing bowl on top. Add the softened butter, sugar, treacle and almond essence and cream together.
- Crack the eggs one by one into a small bowl to check they are fresh, then combine and whisk together. Sift the flour, spices and baking powder into another bowl.
- Add the egg mix in batches and beat into the butter and sugar mix. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour with each batch to prevent the mix from splitting. When all of the egg is mixed in add the remaining flour and spice mix and fold together until thoroughly combined. Add the soaked fruits and flaked almonds and gently stir together.
- Tip the cake mix into your prepared cake tin, and tap on the work surface to knock out any pockets of air. Place in the centre of the oven bake for an hour, cover the top with two layers of baking paper and turn the oven down to 140C / 275 F / Gas Mark 1 and cook for around two and a half to three more hours or until a wooden skewer inserted in the cakes centre comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool. To feed your cake poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over tablespoons of your chosen alcohol, wrap in fresh baking paper and tin foil and place in a biscuit tin or plastic tub. Feed the cake with two tablespoons of alcohol every fortnight, until you marzipan it before icing.