In Backyard Self-sufficiency, Jackie French writes,
The best way to keep eggs is in a rich fruit cake. Well splashed with brandy, these last a year or more and get better all the time. One cake can use a dozen eggs. A couple of fruit cakes in the cupboard means you can feed a mob of bushwalkers who happen to call in, or give one to Aunt Maud when you forget her birthday.
Now that my chooks are laying well again and we’re getting four eggs a day, fruit cake is back on the menu. I always make boiled fruit cakes because I believe they taste better. A boiled fruit cake is one where the dried fruit is simmered with butter, sugar and alcohol before the flour, eggs and spices are added – the cake itself is baked in the oven. You can add the dry ingredients as soon as the boiled fruit mixture cools to room temperature, but I usually leave the fruit mixture to macerate for a day or two first.
Instead of icing my fruit cake, I brush it with a glaze of melted marmalade. Glazing turns an ordinary cake into a sticky, glossy, delectable-looking masterpiece. That’s why I also glaze my gluten free orange and almond cake.
- 250g butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup marmalade
- 1 cuo dried fruit (use a commercial mix or make your own blend)
- ½ cup brandy
- 180 ml water
- ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1½ cups self-raising flour
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 4 eggs
- blanched almonds and glace cherries, for decorating
- 2 heaped tablespoons marmalade, extra
- Grease a 22cm (9") round cake tin, then line base and sides with brown paper or baking paper. Ensure that the paper on the sides of the tin rises up at least 5cm above the top of the tin.
- Put butter, sugar, mixed dried fruit, ½ cup marmalade, brandy, water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, then simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and cover, before leaving to cool (see note).
- After fruit mixture has cooled down, preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (150 fan-forced).
- Stir eggs into fruit mixture one at a time, then add bicarb soda, flour and mixed spice. Stir until mixture is well-combined.
- Pour cake batter into prepared tin and pat with wetted fingers to smooth the surface, then decorate cake with almonds and glace cherries.
- Bale cake for around 1 and 30 minutes. Insert a skewer to check if the cake is cooked.
- Cool the cake in the tin, covered with foil (this will make the cake more moist).
- When cake is cool, remove it from tin and brush with marmalade glaze.
- Melt marmalade in microwave or a small saucepan until it is runny. Brush top of cake with the runny marmalade.