Thursday, April 7, 2016

Nannas Recipes in Four Sentences...3 ingredient Fruit Cakes...



 
My Nanna and Mum and other women of their era, didn't save Fruit Cake for Christmas and Weddings.

Back in their day, when ingredients like eggs, sugar and butter were scarce or impossible to obtain, they had to improvise, and dried fruit found it's way into many a cake or bun for sweetness and texture.

This fabulous cake has enjoyed a bit of a revival in recent times due to it's simplicity, wonderful robust flavour, and the ability to 'keep you going' for longer than a chocolate muffin!

I make these up in loaf pans, 8-10 at a time, and freeze them. They make a wonderful impromptu gift with a packet of Twinings teabags and some scented sugar like Cinnamon or Lemon Zest to either stir through your tea, or sprinkle on the warmed cake. 

They're also a great quick afternoon tea for unexpected guests, a wonderful dessert with custard or cream, and covered with fondant and tied with double satin ribbon and a Christmas themed decoration, yes, a gorgeous Christmas gift too.

Here's Nannas recipe, revised by me many times over the years, in just four sentences...

Depression Era Three Ingredient Fruit Cake

Soak 600gms (about 10ozs) of mixed dried fruit in 600mls (2 1/4 cups) of liquid....try milky tea, herbal tea like Raspberry or a favourite blend like French Earl Grey with 3-4 tablespoons of cream added to the brew for richness, and leave overnight in the refrigerator. Add 2 cups of self raising flour, pour into lined muffin pans, cake tins or a slab tin, and bake in a 180C (375F) preheated oven for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in there for another 30 minutes, if you have an  older oven. If fan forced, the cake is done when it's springy in the middle when touched.
 
You may need to adjust the timing for your oven's peculiarities, or for smaller or larger cakes. A dozen of these in muffin tins will take 25-35 minutes, and a loaf pan about 35-50 minutes.

Here's my mix of roughly chopped dates, dried blueberries and cranberries, and plump raisins, soaking in Chai Tea...smells luscious!


And here is the same cake mixture, baked as small square muffin sized cakes. One batch was enough to make 12 small cakes and one small loaf.
 

I wrap these well and freeze until required, or decorate as the occasion dictates and gift them, wrapped in cellophane with huge ribbons on top.

It helps to use fruit that will 'plump' nicely with soaking, so raisins in preference to currants, dates cut into slivers are wonderful and add a delicious caramel flavour, and blueberries and cranberries are out of this world. Of course this still works with good old fashioned commercial mixed fruit too! 

These are so chock-a-block full of fruit, that you feel good eating them, and they are scrumptious with custard, cream or icecream.

On the weekend, I served the miniature individual ones to our lunch guests. I combined equal parts of pineapple juice and ginger syrup (we are fortunate to have a yummy Ginger cordial here so that's what I used), warmed it, warmed the cakes in the microwave and poked holes in them with a skewer, and poured the syrup over. After they'd soaked the syrup up, they were served with pouring cream, and they were scrumptious! 

The other wonderful thing about these is that they are more fruit than 'cake', and I use gluten free flour. So we don't get that feeling of lead in the tummy after eating them. They are deliciously moist and light.

 Honestly, try this one. You'll love it, I promise!
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41 comments:

  1. Your fruitcakes looks so delectable and so easy, too!!

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    1. Thankyou Kitty! They're surprisingly lovely for something so easy, and the fact that it's a 2 step process means you can always have a batch on the go. Mimi xxx

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  2. Mimi, these sound easy and delicious! Thanks for putting the English equivalents for the recipe ingredients and instructions!

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    1. Hi Patsy. It's a wonderfully versatile recipe and you can use any liquid you like. Dried strawberries and strawberry flavoured milk or berry tea, beer, dried citrus and orange juice...the combinations are endless and each gives a different result. Make sure you use nice plump dried fruit too. Things like raisins and dates will absorb more liquid which gives a more lush result. Mimi xxx

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  3. That is certainly easy peasy, Mimi. I will have to tell my girl about the recipe.

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    1. Chel, I've made it with dried mango and soaked the fruit in commercial mango nectar too for those in 'our' part of the world. Very yum :)

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  4. Hello sweet Mimi! How are you, my friend.

    Ah, what a delight to spend some time on your blog. Your fruitcakes look delicious! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

    Thinking of you and sending lots of love your way!

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    1. Hello Stephanie my lovely. If only you could visit and share some fruit cake with me! Mimi xxx

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  5. Hi Mimi. I loved reading your recipes and other ideas on Simple Savings, and I have made your poached chicken breast and slow-cooker refried beans several times. Now I am looking forward to making this fruit cake. Please would you give an idea of how much cake this recipe makes using the quantities of ingredients stated. I am thinking of using muffin tins - would the recipe make 2 lots of 12 muffins do you think?

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    1. Hi Karen and how lovely of you to visit! I don't often make it into muffin sizes but of course you could. I think you'd get 12-14? This is a fairly heavy sort of cake, so that would make a pretty solid kinda muffin, so make sure you use lots of larger fruit like raisins and dates to soak up the liquid and keep it moist. I can't swear to those numbers, but I'm about to do a batch, so I'll confirm that with you! Mimi xxx

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    2. Thank you, Mimi. I like to make treat things in portion-controlled amounts, hence the muffins. So I'd have muffin-shaped portions of fruit-cake. I am hoping to get 24 because then they'd each have 3 points in my weight control plan, which is what I allow for my supper, with hot cocoa. Kxo.

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    3. Karen, my batch made 12 square muffins and one small loaf :)

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    4. I've added photos and further instructions to the above for smaller cakes :)

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    5. Sorry for the delay in responding, Mimi.
      Thank you very much for that additional information, which is very useful. Looks like maybe I can't get 24 (unless they are mini muffins...still would be ok, I guess). I shall have a go down the track and see what happens. Thanks again...and thank you for your lovely blog. Someone somewhere else in comments said how she always feels better when she visits your blog. I second that with bells on :). You have a beautiful warmth that comes through so nicely in your writing and ideas. Cheers, Karen.

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    6. Hello again Karen! No problem. It's my pleasure to help. I actually used my own selection of dried fruit when I made the single serve ones, and I added a teaspoon of baking powder to the Self Raising flour, and found they came out surprisingly light and yummy. I used raisins (which truly looked like grapes once marinated in the Chai overnight!), dried blueberries and craisins (dried cranberries), which I bought in single serve boxes as a mixture of the two together. I used two of the single serve boxes and made up the weight with the raisins. They were absolutely scrumptious and well worth it for the very minor additional expense. I hope you like them, and thankyou for your sweet compliment. Love, Mimi xxx

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  6. These fruitcakes look so delicious!
    May I have a slice?
    xox

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    1. Sure Manu! I'll put the kettle on ;-) Mimi xxx

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  7. Lovely! I have a slightly similar recipe using tea and soaking the fruit. I sometimes grate an apple into it.
    So pleased the mug swap parcel arrived safely after its long journey!

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    1. Oh I must try adding the apple Elizabeth. That sounds lush! I adore your special gift via Stephanies Teacup Exchange. Thankyou so much! Mimi xxx

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  8. Dear Mimi,

    These cakes are delicious when the fruit is soaked in orange juice too! A favourite here at our house. I posted about it here on my blog http://onecontentedhomebody.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/easy-fruit-cake-just-four-ingredients.html

    This cake turns out so well every time!

    Love Tania xx

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    1. Dear Tania. You're right. It's an absolute no-brainer, no matter what you do to it! OJ sounds yum too. Thanks for stopping by...Mimi xxx

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  9. It's pleasure to read the recipe with story. The women were so creative. Your cakes look so attractive.

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    1. Thankyou Chloe. The history surrounding recipes always fascinates me too. Mimi xxx

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  10. Hello Mimi~
    I am excited to try this! I don't know what could be easier!?! And sounds delicious~ Thank you for sharing. ~Karen O

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    1. I know Karen, right? So easy, and so delicious! Mimi xxx

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  11. How lovely! I'm a fan of homey, comforting recipes and this looks so simple as well. Thank you!
    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Leigh, I love that you can change the fruit and the liquid and get a subtly different result each time. Love, Mimi xxx

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  12. I cant wait to make this, reminds me of my Nana who I miss so much! Thank you

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    1. Clarissa, food that connects us to our family and our past is so important. I hope this helps you keep memories of your Nana, close. Mimi xxx

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  13. wow these look easy and I love fruitcake. Precious memories.

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    1. Yes Deborah. Precious indeed :) Mimi xxx

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  14. These look fantastic! I have a friend that absolutely loves fruitcake so I think I might surprise her with this recipe! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday this week!

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    1. S Marie, these are surprisingly delicious for something so simple. Especially if you use the specific fruits you love. Dried mango, apple and apricot is divine. Mimi xxx

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  15. That does look like a wonderful and simple recipe! Perfect for tea! Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!
    Ruth

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    1. Yes it is perfect for tea Ruth! I'm pleased to share it with you. Mimi xxx

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  16. Oh, Mimi, your little fruit cakes are really cute and would make fabulous gifts. I have both of my grandmothers' fruit cake recipes and I make them every Christmas. I can just imagine how wonderful your fruit smells while soaking in the Chai tea. I love chai tea! Thank you for sharing your recipe and all your lovely ideas with us.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. They are divine Sandi. I can just picture you recreating your grandmothers fruit cakes each festive season! Mimi xxx

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  17. I love these easy kind of recipes from our Depression Era ancestors! Thank you for sharing Mimi! :)

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    1. Yes Jes, aren't they a welcome relief from the ones with a list of ingredients as long as ones arm! Mimi xxx

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  18. How wonderful to have you share this posting Mimi! The season is definitely coming on fast!

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  19. Helo good morning. I found you on Bernideens blog. You fruit cakes look lovely would like to try them. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Happy Fall with love Janice

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx