This is our favourite fruit cake recipe, adapted from one passed to us by some friends. Soaking the dried fruit in beer for at least overnight adds a depth of flavour which we really enjoy. Even though the alcohol cooks out, if you want a completely alcohol free version, soak the fruit in 500ml of tea made with 3 tea bags.
- 1 1/2 cups Sultanas
- 1 1/2 cups Currants
- 1 1/2 cups Raisins
- 1/4 cup mixed peel
The 4 ingredients listed above can be replaced with 4 3/4 cups of Mixed Dried Fruit
- 1 1/2 cups or 240g chopped dates
- 1 500ml bottle of Theakstons Old Peculiar, or a similar more traditional beer.
- 225g butter softened
- 1 cup or 220g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups standard plain flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- The zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp almond essence
Combine the first 5 ingredients (or the mixed dried fruit and dates) with the Theakstons Old Peculiar in a large bowl and leave the bowl covered in cling film overnight in a warm place. If you can, leave the mix for 24 hours to fully soak up the beer!
Add the lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract and mix well.
Add the soaked fruit and mix well.
Line 2 loaf tins, or a normal deep 8 or 9 inch round or square cake tin with baking paper. I have found these fantastic loaf tin liners from Sainsburys and Lakeland, which fit our loaf tins.
Spoon the mixture into the tins.
The ones here took exactly 2 hours, but I find that the time does vary depending on how long the fruit was soaked for. Leave to cool in the tin.
These cakes do taste very nice when they have cooled, but if you can wait for a day or two, they do improve with age.
If you want to turn this recipe into a last minute Christmas cake, then I can recommend using a Christmas beer, such as Santa’s Wobble (also known as Still Wobbling) from the Hogs Back Brewery.