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A Fruit Cake Anyone Can Master

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December 17, 2014 / Cake / By
Anna

I love Christmas cake. A glass of brandy and a thick wedge of Christmas cake late at night after the children were in bed was my special treat years ago when I had a hectic family life. Somehow I found time to make a Christmas cake each year, and I still do.

But I know that many people these days struggle to find time for treats like this. Others think it is very hard to make a Christmas cake, but it really isn’t. These days, I am very cavalier about ingredients. I substitute the dried fruit and nuts in the recipe for the ones I like or have on hand. I don’t chop the nuts as I love a great chunk of nut when I bite into the cake. If I don’t have molasses on hand, and it is hard to get in some countries I have lived in, I add whatever sweetener I have plus dark chocolate to get the color. I have stopped trying to transport ingredients like molasses when I fly. It makes the tall guy (TTG) too nervous.

My mother was always worried about the fruit sinking to the bottom. Luckily, I have not experienced this yet. But even if it did happen, I am sure it would taste just fine.

If you are still reluctant to try, and I know the potential waste of expensive ingredients is a concern, I have an alternative. It is not a Christmas cake with the dark richness that comes from spices, fruits, chocolate, molasses or whatever is used. But it is a fast, easy and reliable fruit cake. Actually, I make both cakes each Christmas. And if there are fewer visitors than anticipated, I get a little plumper than I had expected, but it is worth it. Fruit cake should never be wasted.

I got the recipe from my mother and she got it from her cousin. I think every family in the Antipodes must have the recipe, as a friend of mine served the exact same cake to me in Italy. It turns out that she had been given the recipe by another New Zealand born Italian resident.

So here it is. Make it as it is, or add a teaspoon of cinnamon and/or candied orange peel to make it more festive.

 

Sultana Cake

450 grams sultanas

225 grams butter

3 eggs

350 grams plain flour (3 cups)

350 grams sugar (1½ cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla essence/brandy

 

Put sultanas into a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for 8 minutes.

Drain and add butter leaving to melt over the fruit. Beat the eggs and sugar together and add to the fruit and butter mix, alternating with the sifted flour and baking powder. Mix together then add the vanilla essence.

Bake 1½ hours at 160 degrees in a greased and lined 8 inch square tin or similar. Does best low down in the oven.

Cool and eat. It should be very moist as a result of boiling the fruit. Will keep in a sealed tin, or it freezes well.

 

 

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Country: New Zealand

Province/State: Canterbury

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$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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