Boiled fruit cake. I know how unattractive that sounds, but trust me.
This recipe comes from Josceline Dimbleby, A Taste of Dreams, but I have altered it a bit, so feel free!
Heat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Put a disc of buttered parchment into the bottom of a buttered, deep 6 – inch cake tin. I often line the sides with buttered parchment too. If you are lucky enough to have an Aga cook the cake in the cool oven overnight.
6 oz butter
6 oz soft brown sugar
1/2 pint (300ml) water
4 oz sultanas (golden sultanas are particularly pretty)
4 oz currants
4 oz prunes, roughly chopped
2 oz candied peel, angelica, chopped glaçé cherries and such
2 oz walnut pieces
Put all the above into a saucepan and simmer gently for 10 minutes, covered. Let cool.
8 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground coriander
Sift together into a bowl. Add the fruit mixture and stir with a wooden spoon, then add
2 eggs, beaten
Bake in the centre of the oven for one hour, test, leave longer (only up to 20 minutes) if necessary. Turn onto a rack to cool.
This cake would last well if it weren’t always eaten so quickly – its moist, fudgy flavour is irresistible, very like the incredibly expensive cakes you can buy from monks on the internet, or Fortnums at Christmas. It also has a slight look of stained glass, why is this a theme? Quite apart from stained glass cookies made with boiled sweets!
This is for Sparky, and for Paddy.