Making Fruit Cakes

Hints for success when making a Fruit Cake

Prepare the Tin

  • To protect the cake during the long cooking time, the tin must be well lined.
  • Line your tin with 3 layers of baking paper allowing it to extend 8cm higher than the height of the pan. You don't need to grease the tin but it helps to use butter to keep the paper in place.
  • Fold and staple a couple of layers of brown or newpaper around the outside of the tim. You can tie it in place with kitchen string if that helps.
  • Lay more paper on a baking tray and place the tin on top of the paper and tray.

To Make the Cake:

  • Combine the fruit and alcolhol, mix well then cover tightly. Allow time for the fruit to absorb the alcohol - at least a couple of hours. This mixture can be stored up to a week.
  • Use eggs and butter that have been allowed to reach room temperature. You don't need to cream the butter and sugar as you may get a crumbly cake texture if you do. So beat the butter only until it just clings to the side of the bowl then add sugar and only beat until just combined.
  • Add the fruit mixture to the butter mixture and mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or your hands.
  • Drop the mixture carefully in small amounts into the prepared tin and remove any mixture that accidently falls on the paper above the level of the batter. Don't let the paper lining slip.
  • Smooth the top of the cake towards the sides so that the middle is lower than the sides. Drop the pan against the bench top to settle the mixture and remove any air.

To Cook the Cake:

  • The cake should be placed on a rack so that the top of the cake is about level with the middle of the oven.
  • Check that the top is not browning too quickly - if so, lower the oven temperature and layer some alfoil over the cake to pretect it.
  • To check if cooked gently push a thin sharp knife (such as a tomato knife) into the centre of the pan and check. If the knife has any moist cake mix on the blade, return the cake to oven and check again after 10 - 15 minutes.

To Cool the Cake:

  • Remove the outer layers of paper.
  • Cut slits in the paper that is above the tin and fold the paper over the cooked cake.
  • Cover the hot cake tightly with alfoil then wrap tin and all tightly in a teatowel to cool.

To Store:

  • When the cake is completely cool (the next day) remove the cake from the tin, leaving the paper around the cake, wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or freezer bag.
  • Store in cool place or the fridge.