If I’m not making my super easy-boiled fruit cake with stout and I want to go all the way, I make my all-time favourite fruit cake with loads of fruit and nuts. I especially love whole cherries in a fruit cake. It makes me feel like I’ve hit the cake jackpot. I also believe that fruit cake is not only there for Christmas or other special celebrations. It’s my favourite kind of cake for any tea time.
For convenience, this recipe doesn’t require the fruit to be boiled in advance and it works equally well with roasted or raw nuts. You will need a total of 200 g of whatever nuts you enjoy. I use cashews, Brazils and hazelnuts. The cake itself is light in colour which I prefer, and overall it’s super moist but with the required density. You can of course ice it, but I like to serve it naked with a light dusting of icing sugar and fresh fruit such as figs piled on top.
The double lining of the cake tin is important because this cake is in the oven for so long.
This recipe and image come from my second cookbook ‘sweet which was published by Penguin Random House in 2015. I was honoured that my book won a Gourmand Cookbook award in the national competition under the pastry category and went on to be a finalist in the World Cookbook competition. To buy my book, you can find a hard copy if you live in South Africa on Takealot or an ebook version (for international purchases) here.
Tip: I sprinkle brandy over the cake every 10 days or so; this adds a lovely flavour and helps keep it moist and well-preserved.
Recipe – makes 1 large cake
My favourite fruit and nut cake
- 230 g golden sultanas
- or raisins or both
- 150 g candied pineapple coarsely chopped
- 100 g candied orange peel coarsely chopped
- 50 g crystalised
- ginger chopped
- 230 g whole cherries
- 50 g whole almonds toasted
- 50 g Brazil nuts
- 50 g cashews or pistachios
- 50 g hazelnuts toasted
- without skins
- 230 g cake flour sifted
- 230 g castor sugar
- 230 g butter room temperature
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- zest and juice of 1/2 orange
- 4 large free-range eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 60 ml brandy plus extra for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 140 °C. Double-line a 20-cm round cake tin with baking paper.
- In a bowl, combine all the fruit and nuts with a little of the flour to prevent them from sticking together.
- Cream the castor sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, then mix in the zest. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. Add the remaining flour and salt. Stir in the fruit and nuts, lemon and orange juice, and brandy.
- Bake for 2 & 3/4–3 hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. When cool, turn the cake out and sprinkle with brandy. Wrap tightly in aluminium foil and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
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Take a look back in time:
1 year ago – espresso chocolate chip cookies
2 years ago – caramelised pear and gorgonzola toasties
3 years ago – red wine roast chicken
4 years ago – ‘pizza’ jaffles
5 years ago – coconut & lime ice cream (vegan)
7 years ago – seared salmon with orange, teriyaki & ginger