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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

British fruit cake

Nothing is more intolerable than a baking itch that refuses to go away. I should be doing anything but start the oven working, just days before my holidays. It was not a wise thing to do, baking a cake this big, without enough time to consume all of it.

But  the itch overcame me.

That was how I ended up with a British fruit cake. Just as well, as the cake keeps well beyond the holiday. It would be nice to have  a  British fruit cake waiting for us at home when we were back, a suitable close to a wintry English holiday.

Coming back to the recipe, since this would make a rather big cake, I  divided it into 2 smaller cake loaves instead, one for immediate consumption and the other to be frozen, a-la-sarahlee style. The amount of fruits looks like much, but the quintessential ingredient evens out well when the flour was incorporated into the batter. I added toasted sunflower seeds ( in order to clear my pantry ) but for a better crunch factor, stick to a 100% walnut version.

I have never been a fruit cake enthusiast but it is hubby's favorite and I thought he deserved a little treat for all the hard work this year.  As for myself, I have started to become a little partial to this cake because it was something I tried to perfect every year , mostly tweaked to my preference.

Without cinnamon and spices, this fruit cake smells more like a citrusy bouquet and did not have the mind-numbing sugar content that comes with most recipes. With a cup of earl grey, it would make the longing of England a bit easier to bear.

Makes 2 medium cake loaves.

Ingredients :

100g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g brown sugar
2 big eggs, room temperature
1/4 tsp oil of lemon
1/4 tsp oil of orange
1 1/2 tbsp cognac
35g almond meal
50g assorted chopped nuts and seeds ( sunflower, almond,walnut )
300g candied peels ( candied peels , chopped apricot )
150g assorted raisins,cranberries, sultanas
130g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp fine salt

Cognac for brushing

Method :
Preheat oven to 160 C.

Prepare 2 medium sized aluminum trays, 4x8x2 inches, oiled . Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix plain flour,baking powder and fine. Sieve and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time. Whisk well.

Add oil of lemon, orange and cognac. Whisk again.

Stir in almond meal. Mix well.

Stir in nuts. Mix well.

Stir in peels and fruits. Mix well.

Finally, in 4 batches, stir in flour mixture. Combine well.

Divide to 2 portions and transfer batter to the 2 prepared trays. Smoothen cake surfaces.

Bake the 2 trays of cakes at 160C for 35 minutes.

Foil the cakes loosely.

Reduce baking temperature to 150C and bake for another 40 minutes.

Cake is ready when a cake skewer pierced into the center of the cakes comes out with a few crumbs of moist crumbs.

Cool cake on a rack thoroughly. Poke holes on the surface of the cakes and brush generously with cognac.

Wrap with aluminum and chill. Repeat the process of brushing the cake with liquor every 3 days , until it is ripe to eat, about 2 weeks.

Inspired by :


  1. I can smell Christmas! Where are you going to be for the hols?

  2. Mostly London. I plan to drop by Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh too. Hopefully , these universities town will inspire my girl to great things :-)