Sunday, 16 December 2012


Good Morning to you,

Whenever Natasha and Danielle, our daughters, come to stay, they bring  a wonderful energy to our home, which we find very contagious.  When they leave, there is an emptiness in our home and it takes a little while for us to return to the rhythm of our own lives.
So, as the girls cannot join us this Christmas,  I am not baking a large Christmas cake, as I would, when they are with us. Instead I  have decided to make something much lighter.
This fruit cake I am baking for you, I  adapted from one of Ivy's recipes.  I have lost count of the number of fruit cakes I have  baked over the years. Do you know, thinking about it, I probably have been making this cake for about 38 years and I must have baked hundreds. Whenever I bake this fruit cake it disappears from the plate in the blink of an eye.

I'll let you into a little secret....when we were younger, we lived abroad and often travelled back to England  to visit George's mother and father. Bob, George's father, developed a very sweet tooth in his later years, so I would always bake a cake for him.
George's brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles would always drop by, to see us when we arrived, so of course the cake was shared with everyone.   The problem was, George's  uncle also had a sweet tooth and loved cake, so enjoyed more than a slice or two.  The sharing of the cake carried on for a few visits, when Bob finally told me, he was getting fed up of sharing  his cake, as he was only able to enjoy a single slice, as everyone else was eating the cake. Now believe me when I say, he was the most generous spirit you could imagine, he would do anything for anyone, but when it came to fruit cake, that was a whole other matter. So to solve the problem I had to bake two cakes, one for Bob and one for George's uncle and the rest of the family. So by baking two cakes everyone was happy. Bob passed away a number of years ago, but do you know, I am still making this fruit cake for George's  uncle, as after all these years it is still his favourite cake. In fact, I am baking one for him for Christmas Eve.  So from an original recipe of Ivy's from the 1940's this fruit cake continues to be enjoyed today.

11 oz self raising flour, sifted
8 oz mixed fruit
6 oz dark demerara sugar
8 oz unsalted butter
1 level teaspoon of salt
1 level teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs, whisked
1/2 pint milk
(can be semi skimmed
or full fat)

  Butter  and line a 7inch round cake tin
Heat the oven to 180C degrees
(160C if you have a fan assisted oven)

 Using  a large heavy based pan,
yes, trust me, use a pan. 
you will not be disappointed.
You are going to be making a moist,
 boiled fruit cake.

 Pour the milk

 the mixed fruit

 the demerara sugar

 the butter

 the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and
 bicarbonate of soda

 into the pan and bring to the boil.
Reduce  the heat and
simmer for 5 minutes.
Please keep an eye on the pan as the mixture has a tendency to rise to the top of the pan.

 Leave to cool for half an hour.
Then mix in the sifted self raising flour.
Give the mixture a good beat to make sure there are no flour lumps.
Add the two beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.

 Pour the mixture into the buttered cake tin

 and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
(I always check my cake after an hour. For some reason,  it takes anywhere between 1 hour  to 1 hour 15 minutes to bake)
If you find your cake is browning a little
too quickly, then cut a piece of tin foil
large enough to cover the top
of the cake.
Place the tin foil loosely over the cake,
as this will prevent the cake
from browning too much.

.....and there you have it, a delicious, moist fruit cake.  A perfect substitute for a rich Christmas cake.

In the New Year I will share with you Ivy's original recipe and you can see how it compares.
This week I shall be joining,

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

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