Boiling the fruit is the secret to the mature flavour of thisw onderful cake, which originally came from New Plymouth’s Betty Warner.

Ingredients:

1¼-1½kg mixed fruit
250g butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup water
½-1 cup brandy, rum or whisky
1-1½ tablespoons treacle
1-1½ tablespoons marmalade
5 or 6 eggs, slightly beaten
1¾ cups plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
½-1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, nutmeg (or allspice) and mixed spice

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 150°C. Line a 22cm cake tin with 3 layers of baking paper.
  2. Place fruit, butter, brown sugar, water and brandy, rum or whisky in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  3. Add treacle, marmalade and eggs to pan and mix well.
  4. Sift dry ingredients together then stir into fruit mixture.
  5. Spread in prepared tin and bake for 2½ hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Cover with foil and leave to cool in the tin.

 

BRANDY BUTTER ICING

This butter cream icing, a classic recipe from the Edmonds Cookery Book, is especially delicious on Christmas fruit cakes – with or without a layer of almond icing underneath. A small dob of it is also nice to top off a Christmas mince tart, instead of a pastry lid.

Ingredients:

175g butter, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:

  • 1Beat butter until smooth. Add icing sugar, brandy and vanilla and beat until light and creamy.
  • This recipe makes enough to cover a large cake generously, all over. The icing will keep well if stored in a cool place (3-4 weeks in the fridge).

 

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