If you grew up in 80s Britain, chances are you remember the Cadbury’s advert for their raisin and almond chocolate bar. No? Well, I couldn’t tell you what happened in the ad either but what I do distinctly remember is the music and tag line. Performed to Tchaikovsky’s ‘Danse des mirlitons‘ from The Nutcracker, I doubt very much it would be considered ‘p.c.’ these days, having the main line of ‘…everyone’s a fruit and nut case‘ – but it’s certainly something that stuck in my head!
Except, it was never anything to do with chocolate because, as with everything else in my life, I had to change it about to suit myself. So my revised slogan became ‘everyone’s a fruit and nut CAKE’ and whenever I look at, eat, or as in the case of this week’s Monday Munchies, make a fruit cake I’ll happily hum the tune or have it skipping about in my brain!
Yes, as it’s nearly Christmas, the time has come around to create a slab of rich fruity goodness, doused in lashings of whiskey, ready for the big day. I always assumed making a fruit cake would be really hard work, but this boil and stir recipe from BBC Good Food is so simple and has worked well for the last couple of years. Okay, it takes about four days to bake (actually only 2 to 2 and a half hours but I’m impatient!) and it needs to mature so it’s best to organise making it at least a month before it’s needed. But as a self-confessed connoisseur of this type of cake, believe me, it’s sooo worth it!
Once baked, it will keep in an airtight container for three months or you can freeze it for up to six. Personally, I don’t understand why anyone would have any left to be able to freeze it but then I can gorge on fruit cake to a fault! I continue to add some whiskey at weekly intervals after it has cooked then decorate with royal icing and marzipan a couple of days before Christmas.
Although I didn’t include nuts in our cake (S has an allergy), the recipe below still has the measurements. Just omit the relevant steps if you also don’t want them in it.
Next week, we’re back with the foodie Tea Party Meet and Greet with some Christmas-y editions but until then, here’s a little slice of Tchaikovsky, courtesy of Disney’s Fantasia, to help get your bake on. Enjoy! 🙂
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 175g butter.
- 200g dark muscovado sugar.
- 500g mixed dried fruit.
- 125g dried cranberries.
- 125g glacé cherries.
- zest and juice of 1 orange.
- zest of 1 lemon.
- 100ml of whiskey, plus extra for after baking. (brandy also works, we’re just whiskey drinkers!)
- 200g plain flour.
- 3 large, beaten eggs.
- 1/2 tsp baking powder.
- 1 tsp mixed spice.
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
- 85g macadamia nuts.
- 85g ground almonds.
In a large pan, add the butter (chopped), sugar, whiskey, all fruit and cherries, plus the grated zests and orange juice. Slowly bring these to the boil and stir until butter has melted.
Simmer for 10 mins then allow to cool for at least 30 mins.
Whilst this is happening, if adding macadamia nuts, toast them in a dry frying pan for about 8 mins. Be careful, they can burn easily! Chop roughly once toasted. Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3 and line a 20cm tin with baking parchment.
Once the fruit has cooled (it can still be slightly warm), add the nuts, almond and beaten eggs, stirring well. Sift in the flour and spices and mix gently until no traces of flour left.
Spoon into the tin and smooth out evenly. Bake for 45 minutes then turn down the heat to Gas Mark 2 and cook for a further 90 mins. Check a skewer come out clean to ensure cake is baked.
Make skewer holes all over the cake and spoon over another 4 tbsp of whiskey and let it soak in. Allow the cake to cool in the tin then remove baking parchment. Before storing the cake, wrap first in parchment then in foil. Add 4 tbsp of optional, extra whiskey each week running up to Christmas, making sure you re-wrap securely each time.
Image Credits: Pinterest, YouTube and my own!