It’s been cold this week, and suddenly, the world seems much scarier. The answer to a chill in the bones and the feeling that you want to hide under your duvet? Cake. A big, solid fruit cake. The kind that wouldn’t look out of place on Marilla Cuthbert’s table at Green Gables when the Minister came to tea. Something homely and reassuring. A cake that says, “everything’s going to be fine.”
I wanted something that wouldn’t take too long. I didn’t want a cake that I’d have to feed with booze every day for a week before I could cut into it – I’ll save that for Christmas. I found a recipe for a quick boiled fruitcake in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. It shouldn’t take long if the title was anything to go by, and the boiled fruit bit sounded interesting and very Marilla Cuthbert-like. I decided to give it a try.
The first step was to heat a can of condensed milk, butter, raisins, sultanas, currants and glacé cherries in a pan until the butter had melted. Condensed milk. My parents love it. They say they used to have it on sandwiches. A condensed milk sandwich? I can’t quite see it myself. Would you butter the bread first? How would you cut it?
Anyway, once the butter had melted, I brought the mixture to the boil, simmered for five minutes, then took it off the heat and left it to cool.
I mixed self-raising flour, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl, added eggs and the fruit mixture and stirred. Not well enough I’m afraid, since when I put the batter into my cake tin, there was unincorporated flour all over the place. I gave it another quick stir while it was in the tin. Not a step that I’d recommend.
I baked the cake at 130° fan for an 1¾ hours. It was supposed to be well risen, golden brown, the top should be firm, and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. I had three out of four (my cake was conker coloured rather than golden brown, but it had been that way for most of the cooking time). I took it out of the oven, let it cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turned it out.
Here it is
It’s a really good fruit cake this. It doesn’t take too long to make, it isn’t difficult, it’s packed with fruit and warm spice, and it tastes good. A really comfy cake to see us through these really dark November days.