Sometimes I have a love-hate relationship with baking. You see, I can never stick to a recipe and follow it to the T. I make modifications here and there, choosing to add a bit of this and a bit of that…it all depends on my mood really. Sometimes it turns out great, other times it’s just so-so.
This time, it turned out just fine…fine enough to become a wedding cake. The recipe is as per below:
750gms mixed fruits
100gms green glaced cherries – quartered
70gms dried apricots – chopped
300gms mixed nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, macadamias) – chopped coarsely
30gms mixed peel – chopped
150gms strawberry jam
2 tbsp honey
1 cup brandy
50gms plain flour, sifted
125gms soft brown sugar
1/2 tbsp dark treacle
2 tsp vanilla essense
5 egg yolks
Combine and sift:
175gms plain flour
75gms self-raising flour
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
50gms castor sugar
- Combine fruits and nuts in a container. Add jam, honey and brandy, and mix well.
- Cover and allow to sit for at least 7 days. Stir the mixture with a clean & dry wooden spoon every day.
- Before use, add 50gms plain flour to prevent the fruits & nuts from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
- Grease a deep 10″ round cake tin with butter and line the bottom of the pan with 3 layers of baking paper.
- Wrap the outside of the tine with brown paper and secure well. This is to prevent 1) the edges from cooking too quickly, and 2) the top to curve over (dome shaped).
- Mix the butter and sugar until well-combined. Then cream the mixture with essence and treacle until pale and light.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time and ensure that they are mixed well after each addition.
- Add creamed mixture into the fruit & nut mixture by hand and mix well.
- Fold in the sifted flour and mix evenly.
- Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form and gradually add sugar (1 tbsp at a time). Continue beating until it forms a meringue. All utensils must be free of fat (butter, shortening, oil, etc) otherwise the meringue will not form. You’ll know when it’s a meringue if you turn the bowl over and it doesn’t dribble out. The key is to look out for stiff peaks!
- Fold the meringue into your batter and mix thoroughly. Remember to be gentle as meringue is fluffy (due to all that incorporated air) so you don’t want to “deflate” it.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, level evenly and bake in a preheated oven at 150 C for 1 hour. Do place a pan of water at the bottom of the oven to keep the cake moist.
- Lower temperature to 140 C and continue to bake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. In the last hour, remove the pan of water.
- Once removed from the oven, brush the top evenly with either brandy or apricot glaze, and wrap up the entire cake with a clean tea-towel.
- Leave to cool for approximately 1 hour. Remove, turn out cake, remove lining paper and wrap with foil.
- Store the cake in the fridge. It will keep for up to 3 months.