This is an extraordinarily moist and intensely fruity cake – and one that will keep for months, its flavours developing nicely as it matures
NANA’S FRUIT CAKE
1kg mixed dried fruit
50g sultanas or golden raisins
12 pitted prunes, chopped
1 x 400g tin sweetened condensed milk
225g butter, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
Dash of vanilla extract
Dash of brandy
50g flaked almonds
1 slightly heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
300g plain flour
1 slightly heaped tsp baking powder
1 Preheat oven to 140C/Fan 120C/375F. Grease and line a 23cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
2 Tip all the dried fruit and prunes into a large pan. Add the condensed milk, butter, treacle, golden syrup, vanilla extract and brandy. Stir in 350ml water, bring to a simmer and bubble gently for 5 mins.
3 Leave the mixture to cool slightly before stirring in the almonds, bicarbonate of soda mixed spice and nutmeg. Finally, add the flour and baking powder, a little at a time, stirring well between each addition.
4 Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 21⁄2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in there to settle – I usually leave it overnight. The following day, turn the cake out, wrap it in baking parchment and store in an airtight container, where it will keep for many months. (The oldest one I’ve ever eaten was 18 months old and it tasted excellent.)
Recipe from The Great Dixter Cookbook by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon).
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