Fruitcake can be traced back to Roman times when the cake contained ingredients such as pomegranate seeds and pine nuts mixed with barley mash, spices, and honey. A light golden fruitcake, lightly spiced, and chockfull of brandy soaked fruit and almonds.
This fruitcake has a butter cake base, producing a cake that is lighter than a traditional densely fruit laden fruitcake. You can make a fruitcake without alcohol, though traditionally it is made with alcohol. You can use orange juice instead and you do not need to soak the fruit. But you can soak the fruit for a few hours to soften the fruit again it is not necessary.
Fruitcake is traditionally enjoyed in Latin America on Christmas Eve with hot chocolate. But it will make delicious toast and french toast the next morning, as well as fantastic bread pudding. They also keep very well and make excellent holiday gifts.
- 1 1/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour (180gm)
- 1/2 cup powdered almonds (60 gm)
- 170gm butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup sugar, ground to a powder (100gm)
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup dried fruits and candied peel
- 1/2 cup chopped cherries
- 2 tsp. vanilla essence
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 cup milk (50ml)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven at 170C. Grease the line of the loaf pan, then dust it with flour. Recommended size is a 9x5x3 inch pan.
- Remove 1 tbsp. from the flour and sprinkle it over the dried fruits and mix. This will help ensure that they do not sink to the bottom of the back during baking. Set aside.
- Add the vanilla essence in the milk. Set aside.
- Sieve/sift the rest of the flour with the baking powder and salt. Then add the powdered almonds and still well. Set aside.
- Beat the butter/margarine with the powdered sugar in a big bowl until light and fluffy. Be sure to beat them well because this cake requires very little baking powder so this stage is crucial in ensuring you have a light and fluffy cake.
- Once the butter and sugar are light and creamy, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Add the flour and milk/vanilla in three installments, combining gently between each addition, starting with the flour, then the milk and ending with the flour again. Make sure not to over mix the batter at this stage.
- Finally, add the dried fruits and chopped cherries and gently stir them in with a spatula. Pour this batter into your prepared loaf pan.
- Sprinkle the almond flakes over the cake and then bake in the preheated oven at 170C for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- During baking, if you find that the top is coloring too quickly you can cover the cake lightly with a piece of foil midway through baking.
- Place the loaf pan on a wire to cool slightly and then turn the cake out of the pan and allow it to cool completely before slicing. The loaf will keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 days, and longer if refrigerated.