Christmas Baking: Fruitcake

So you don't like fruitcake, you say.  It's dry and tasteless and heavy as a brick.  Well, you haven't tried THIS fruitcake! :-)

As with all my Xmas stuff, I left the baking thereof until a day and a half before Xmas - which is quite fine, but this cake stays fresh and moist for many months, un-refridgerated / un-frozen.  If you have leftovers, merely seal them in a tupperware container.

This is a pretty forgiving recipe.  You don't have to have exact measures of the fruit mix or dates - just throw things in approximately and take it from there (see below).

Mix together:
500g cake fruit mix
250g cherries
1 1/2 Tbs fruit mince
120g dates (or a pack around that weight)
1c brown sugar
1c (125g) margarine / butter
1/2 c water

I used a pre-mix of raisins, sultanas, peel, cherries and nuts - an entire kilo in lieu of the first two ingredients.  I think I chucked in more dates than required too.  See what I mean about a forgiving recipe?

Boil these together for 5 minutes, allow to cool.  You can stick it in the microwave or in a pot on the stove - as long as everything melts together nicely.

Add 2 eggs, 1tsp bicarb, 1 1/2c flour, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt.

Mix it all together nicely, and you'll end up with a rich, dark, fruity batter.

Spray your baking dish with non-stick spray and pour in the batter - level it out.  I've gone for a square one so it's easier to cut the cake into pieces, but you're welcome to use a round cake tin or pie plate - whatever you have that the batter will fit into with a bit of rising space.

Bake at around 150C for about an hour to an hour and a half.  Keep an eye on it though - the edges like to cook quickly and may start to burn before the middle is done!

Near the end of the hour, start checking on it.  Press the middle gently - when it no longer feels "sloppy", but is cake-firm, it's done.

Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool.

Once it's cool, remove from baking dish, and start to feed it liberally with brandy! :-)  This one's already taken in a medium-sized half-bottle.

That's it.  Quick, easy and lekker.  We'll be serving ours with ice-cream on Xmas day.

Oh - there's one thing I forgot and was kicking myself for as it came out of the oven - mainly because time between mixing it up and baking it was around 4 hours thanks to running off on a job somewhere!  (see change in lighting of pics above)   Don't forget to throw a few clean coins into the mix before it goes in the pan - and warn your eaters so they don't choke on them or break any teeth.