I think anyone should have a recipe for fruitcake. It is easy to make, most people will like it, you can play around a bit with the different kinds of dried/candied fruit in it, and importantly: it is a classic. Fruitcakes come ranging from very light to very heavy, this one falls a bit in between (to keep the baking time reasonable, and to make maturing not necessary). Often, fruitcakes contain alcohol, this cake doesn’t, but I expect that you can soak the raisins and currants in something alcoholic before adding them (make sure you dry them), or drizzle the cake with alcohol after baking. Because it contains so much dried fruit, it will stay fresh and tasty for quite a while.
The washing of the cherries may seem a bit of a weird step in the recipe, but it is a necessary one. The sticky layer around the cherries is hygroscopic, meaning it will attract water. This will locally make the batter very running, causing an uneven bake, and the cherries will sink to the bottom as well. And, if you can find them, use natural glacé cherries, not the luminescent ones. I couldn’t, so I did use the luminescent ones, because in my opinion, you cannot make fruitcake without glacé cherry.
Adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”
100 g glacé cherries
100 g succade (candied peel)
75 g chopped dried apricots
50 g raisins
50 g currants
175 g self-raising flour
100 g softened butter
100 g brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 140C. Grease a loaf tin.
Cut the cherries into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well, then dry with kitchen paper.
Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the flour, butter and sugar. Beat well until the mixture is smooth. Add the dried fruits and stir through. Pour into the prepared tin and level the top.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 80 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, firm to the touch and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.