On our return home from hospital, my Mum stayed with us for a week and I have even more love and respect for her than I already did, both because of the experience of becoming a mum, and also for her patience, help and mad cooking skills during that week. My mum’s stews, soups and other general awesomeness will continue to feature in future recipes, but for this one I am going to bring you someone else baking prowess.
I’ve mentioned before the wonderful community where we live in London (see this courgette tart recipe ) and this cake is another example of that. The moment we got home from hospital, ‘Aunty’ Viv from next door was round with a coffee cake to keep us going through the night shifts. A few days later it was followed by this irresistible offering, which I have named Aunty Viv’s Magic Fruit Cake. It is choc full of dried fruits and nuts which are great for energy and some of the other needs of new mums. Instead of being heavy like most fruit cakes it has a wonderful crunchy crust thanks to the brownie-like method which uses melted butter instead of the creaming method. The pictures make it look a bit dry, but I promise you it’s not and it is FANTASTIC with a cup of tea of served with custard or nibbled in the middle of the night.
Ingredients (makes two loaf cakes)
- 100g sultanas
- 100g glace cherries (whole)
- 50g dried apricots (or a bit more), cut in half
- 50g dried figs, cut into quarters
- 250g butter
- 350g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 400g self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Grated rind of a lemon/orange OR 1 tsp almond essence
- Pinch salt
- A generous handful of walnut halves
- Place the dried fruits in a saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to boil for 2 mins and then take off the heat and leave to cool a little in the water while you prep everything else.
- Melt the butter in a large bowl.
- Add the caster sugar and mix well.
- Beat in the eggs.
- Sieve the flour, bicarb and salt together and then add to the wet mixture.
- Mix well.
- Drain the fruit and stir into the mixture with the nuts.
- Bake at 160c (140 fan) for 50mins or until a skewer comes out clean
Now try to resist eating a slice with every cup of tea.