Auntie Tot’s very rich fruit cake
- 650g raisins
- 400g sultanas
- 200g currants
- 80g minced peel
- 100g dates, chopped
- 100g dried figs, chopped
- 100g glace cherries, halved
- 100g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- 150ml dark rum
- 600g flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 350g butter, softened to room temperature
- 350g brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons treacle
Tottie Thorburn used this recipe to make the wedding cakes she became renowned for. It is fruit-rich and fragrant, the cherries, figs and dates making it extra special for weddings and special occasions. The recipe calls for a large deep tin, but we have adjusted the cooking time to make two smaller cakes.
|Preheat the oven to 180ºC (or 160ºC fan forced). Position the oven rack to one rung lower than the centre. Line the base and sides of two cake tins (20 cm square or 21 cm round) with several layers of baking paper.|
|Combine the dried fruit, peel and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Pour the rum over the mixture and stir through. Set aside. |
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the spices and stir to combine. Set aside.
Beat the butter until it is pale and fluffy, add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is creamy and light. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing each in thoroughly before adding the next. Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled at this point. Add the treacle and fold it through (warming it a little first helps to distribute it through the mixture). Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl large enough to also hold the flour and fruit.
|Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sifted flour and spices over the fruit, and mix to lightly coat the fruit pieces (this keeps the fruit from lumping together or sinking to the bottom of the cake as it cooks). Add the remaining flour and spice mixture to the butter mixture and fold through until combined. Then add the fruit mixture and fold it through to combine and distribute the fruit evenly. |
Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. If the tins sit closely together in the oven you may have to turn the cakes halfway through cooking to ensure they bake evenly. If the tops of the cakes are browning too quickly, place two sheets of baking paper across the top of each cake.
|Cook's tip: replace the individual dried fruits with an equivalent weight of commercial fruit and peel mix. If the fruit seems very dry or aged, pour over 1/2 cup of hot fragrant tea (eg Earl Grey or Lady Grey) and allow to soak overnight. Drain any excess liquid before proceeding with recipe.|