Christmas would not be Christmas, in my opinion, without a steady supply of boozy fruit cake. The first time someone asked me why fruit cake tasted so bad, I nearly fell off my chair. Who doesn’t like fruit cake? But then I realised that a lot of people might associate it with the shop-bought variety. Disaster. A fruit cake is a living thing. If you don’t give it the proper love and attention by topping it up with a weekly dose of brandy, the fruit will soak all the moisture out of the dough. No, when it comes to fruit cake, “Give and you shall receive” is the best philosophy. Game? Follow this recipe and you’ll have three decadent cakes ready for the season of giving.
PREPARING YOUR TINS FOR BAKING
READ THIS BEFORE MOVING ON TO THE RECIPE. Simply put, if you don’t follow these steps, the cake will burn.
This recipe makes enough to fill 3 x 17 cm cake tins. If you don’t have this exact size available, use 2 x 23 cm cake tins.
Going with the natural width of the roll, cut 3 folios of baking paper (not wax paper, as this will stick to your cake), longer in length than the diameter of your tin. In other words, the ends of your paper strips must overlap when you line the inside of your cake tin.
Fold each folio in half lengthwise, effectively doubling the lining. Make sure the width of the folded paper is higher than the cake tin you’re using.
Then, fold the loose ends of the paper along the edge of your lining over like the hem of a double layer of fabric (about 2 cm).
In 2 cm intervals, cut a line from the edge of the loose ends to the fold you have just made. The edges should now look like little 2 cm squares.
Now, line the inside of your cake tin with the cut ends down and facing inwards towards the centre of your tin. You’re basically creating a cake collar.
Roll out some more baking paper, enough to cover your cake tin three times. Create a triple layer of paper by folding it 3 times.
Place the cake tin on top of your triple folded baking paper and draw a circle on the paper around the bottom of the tin.
Cut along the circle and triple-line the bottom of each cake tin.
Spray with edible food spray. Your tins are now ready to be filled with cake mixture.
Once you’ve spooned the mixture into the tins, decorate, and place all three cake tins onto baking trays.
You’re not done, so make yourself a cup of tea or pour yourself a stywe dop.
You’re about to insulate each cake tin. Take 3 sheets of newspaper (about the size of Die Burger or Weekend Argus) and fold them in their length about 3 – 4 times. When wrapping them around the cake tins, they must be higher than the edges of the baking paper sticking out of each tin. Then staple the overlapped ends together.
Finally, cover each tin with a lid made of a triple layer of baking paper. You don’t need to go to too much trouble here, as long as the cake mixture is covered.
You did it! Go and kick up your feet for 3 ½ hours while the cake is baking.
for the cake
1,5 kg Safari dried fruit cake mix
500 g Medjool dates, pitted and chopped in small pieces
200 g Moirs glacé cherries, halved
500 ml KWV brandy
400 g blanched almonds OR Safari Flaked Almonds
500 g (540 ml) soft butter
500 g Muscovado brown sugar
10 ml vanilla essence
500 g (900 ml) cake flour
15 ml cocoa
5 ml baking powder
5 ml bicarbonate of soda
5 ml ground cinnamon
5 ml ground ginger
5 ml mixed spice
for the toppings and for when the cake comes out of the oven
200 g blanched almonds OR Safari Flaked Almonds
400 g glacé cherries
Place the dried fruit cake mix, dates and cherries in a large container (that still has its lid). Pour over the brandy and mix well. Close the container with the lid and let the fruit soak overnight. Beware: the brandy fumes might take your breath away when you open it the next day, but should put you in the festive spirit. Add the almonds and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 150 °C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the flat beater, beat until light and soft. This could take at least 10 minutes. Add one egg at a time and beat until well blended. Add the vanilla essence and mix.
In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice.
Place the soaked fruit in a large mixing bowl and add the creamed butter and sugar. Mix through. Add the sieved dried ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Spoon the mixture into your prepared cake tins and decorate the tops with the extra almonds and cherries. Place the tins on baking trays and cover with paper lids. Place in the oven. After 3½ hours test with a cake tester to make sure the cakes or done.
Take out of the oven and spoon about 30 ml of brandy on top of each cake. Let the cakes cool in the tins.