Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No, you don't boil the actual cake!

I've been thinking for a while that it's about time I made another fruit cake. I guess it's because fruit cakes tend to be fairly dense and heavy that I think of them as suitable for cooler weather - and the cooler weather has definitely arrived!

This weekend, I decided to get the ingredients together for a boiled fruit cake (p54). The ambiguity in this title always amuses me, as it sounds like the cake itself is boiled. Actually, it's just the fruit that goes in the cake. You begin by putting mixed fruit in a saucepan, (and make it a large one, because all the rest of the ingredients have to go in there too) just covering the fruit with water, then bringing it to the boil.

When the water boiled, I took the pan off the heat and added butter, stirring until it melted. The next addition was beaten eggs - note you're supposed to let the fruit mixture cool down first (presumably so the hot water doesn't cook the egg) but I missed that part of the recipe and bunged it straight in. Luckily, the water must have cooled down enough to have no effect on the egg.

Having stirred through my eggs, I measured in flour and baking powder, and mixed that in. Finally, I added a half teaspoon each of vanilla and almond essence. My own preferences would call for more, particularly of the almond, but I resisted and stuck to the recipe.

I poured the mixture into a lined 23cm cake tin (it said to spoon it in, but that turned out to be much messier than just pouring it) and plonked it lowish in the oven. The recipe had a not very specific cooking time of 1 to 1 1/2 hours, so I decided to check it after an hour and decide if it needed more cooking.

The cake looked pretty good at the 1-hour mark, and the top was springing back when I gave it a poke. I wasn't sure it was cooked through though, so I put it in for another 15 minutes. The surface was even firmer after that, and a skewer came out totally clean wherever I stuck it in the cake. Despite this, I still got the impression it wasn't quite ready, so I added a final 10 minutes in the oven.

The cake cooled in the tin overnight, and I left it for another day before cutting into it. I was amused to see there's a patch in the centre with hardly any fruit, so either I didn't mix that very well, or it's the result of me scraping the last of the mix out of the bowl and into the cake.

There's nothing much wrong with this cake. It's nice and moist, not to the point of being gluggy, but it might have been if I had taken the cake out closer to the 1 hour mark than 1 1/2 hours. On the whole, though, I find this one a bit bland and ordinary. There are better fruit cake recipes out there.


  1. I used to make boiled fruit cake a bit when you guys were young and as you say it may not be the best cake ever but the big plus is it's quite quick to throw together. no mucking around with mixers etc.c

  2. I have just discovered your blog,and intend to read my way through it,eventually.Well done!

  3. I imagine it'll get a bit repetitive if you read it from start to finish - you'll be sick of the word "tasty" by the end of it! That said, happy reading!


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