If you feel a bit nervous, and you haven’t baked many fruit or sponge cakes
before, maybe you would like to try this one.
You will need:
- 12 oz, 350 g, mixed dried fruit.
- 4 oz, 110 g, margarine.
- 4 oz, 110 g, soft brown sugar.
- 8 oz, 225 g, self-raising flour.
- a quarter of a pint, 150 ml, of water.
- 2 medium-sized eggs.
- 1 level tsp of mixed spice.
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3, 325 f, 170 c, 160 fan.
Prepare a 7 inch, 18 cm, cake tin by Greasing, lining and then greasing
the greaseproof, parchment or silicone paper again. (Please see my
glossary section for more detailed information on lining and preparing cake
Begin by putting the fruit, margarine, sugar and water into a large, deep
Put it on to the hob on a fairly low heat,
and stir it well and continuously with a wooden spoon while you bring it up
to simmering point.
Listen for a slight hissing noise from the pan as
this point is reached, but turn the heat off immediately if the contents
starts to bubble.
You will feel the margarine dissolving under your wooden
spoon as it heats, but the sugar will still feel and sound granular, while the
spoon will come up against the little pieces of fruit as you are stirring.
This will not take more than a couple of minutes or so.
Now, simmer this mixture, uncovered, for 20 minutes, keeping
the heat low, stirring several times to prevent the mixture from sticking to
the pan. Don’t leave it unattended or it will thicken and turn to toffee,
so keep checking to make sure that it is not bubbling.
Next, remove the pan from the cooker and let the mixture cool for about half
an hour or so.
- While you are waiting, sift the flour and mixed spice into a bowl.
Break the eggs separately into a small bowl to make sure they are fresh,
before beating them together thoroughly.
Next, add the beaten eggs, flour and spice to the cooled mixture in the saucepan,
and combine everything together really well.
Now it’s time to bake the cake, so pour this mixture into your prepared, greased
and lined cake tin and level the top with a large, flat-bladed knife.
Begin by baking the cake on the centre shelf of your oven for 30 minutes,
then reduce the heat to Gas Mark 2, 300 f, 150 c, 140 fan. And continue baking
for a further 1 to 1-and-a-half hours.
To see if the cake is cooked, insert a fine skewer down into the centre,
if it comes out feeling just slightly sticky without any mixture stuck to it,
you’ll know that it’s ready to come out of the oven.
Allow the cake to stand in its tin for about half an hour to cool slightly
before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
This cake is fairly moist, it will keep fresh for a week or so if stored
in an air-tight tin.