A light tea or dessert fruitcake can be dreary and lack excitement.
One trick to give the cake a boost in more ways than one is to the raisins,
sultanas and glacé cherries in gin before cooking. This helps make the cake moist and provides a unique taste,
just perfect for that special occasion or tea party.
Heavy fruit cakes and plum puddings, which have the fruit soaked in rum, high a richer and full taste. Gin imparts and lighter taste more suited to a light fruit cake. Gin suits the savory, and no so sweet taste, of this lovely light fruit cake.
2 egg yolks
4 free-range eggs
200 g (7 oz) raisins
100 ml good quality gin
200 g (7 oz) mixed peel
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
250 g (7 oz) icing sugar, well sifted
2 tablespoons warmed apricot jam (used as a glaze)
250 g (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened, but not melted
200 g (7 oz) glacé cherries, chopped in half, so the gin can penetrate
whipped cream, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (340 degrees F). Prepare a rectangular, elongated baking pan or tin (11 cup size). by greasing it with spray oil, butter or canola oil. Soak the raisins and glacé cherries in the gin for at least 30 minutes, but 1-2 hours is preferred. Drain the fruit, but save the gin.
Using a medium size bowl, beat the icing sugar and butter together until fluffy and light. Slowly beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add the vanilla and egg yolks and beat until well combined. Next fold in three-quarters of the flour, add the drained, peel and cherries and finally fold in the remainder of the flour. Don't over mix, simply blend the ingredients together.
Transfer the mixture into the greased baking tin and flatten the smooth. Place the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 55-70 minutes until the top has turned golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, cook a little and then sprinkle about half the gin you have retained after soaking the fruit over the top of the cake.
Allow to cool for and extra 10-15 minutes and then turn out onto a rack Glaze the top of the cake using the apricot jam mixed with the remaining gin. Decorate with extra cherries and serve with whipped cream.