Easy Fruit Cake:
1 cup (210 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup (240 ml) water
1/4 cup (55 grams) butter, diced
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cloves
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (300 grams) seedless raisins
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (150 grams) candied and chopped mixed peel
Easy Fruit Cake: Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). (Note: if using a dark colored pan reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).)
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil the sugar, water, butter, spices, and raisins. Boil for five minutes, then remove from heat, and let cool till lukewarm. Stir into this mixture the lightly beaten eggs, flour, baking soda, vanilla extract and candied fruit. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 50 - 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cover and store, if possible, for a few days before serving. This fruit cake can be frozen.
Makes one loaf.
The British Fruit Cake is traditionally served during the Christmas season. It is full of dried fruits and nuts, laced with alcohol over several weeks, and often covered with marzipan and royal icing. The problem is that it's both expensive to make and it needs time to age. Luckily, there is a much simpler version of this cake for the last minute baker, and I call it an Easy Fruit Cake. You may know it as a Boiled Fruit Cake, a War Cake, and/or a Bachelor's Cake. I love a lot of things about this cake. I love that it still uses all the necessary fruit cake ingredients, like candied fruits, dried fruits and spices. I love that the batter is so easy to make and you don't need to pull out your stand mixer. And most importantly, I love its flavor and that it can be eaten almost right away. This is one cake that is so good that it begs to be made all year, not just during the Christmas season.
This Easy Fruit Cake does not contain alcohol and yet its' texture is still wonderfully moist. Now, the reason it's often called a "Boiled" Fruit Cake, is because the brown sugar, water, butter, spices, and raisins are, in fact, "boiled". Once this boiled mixture has been left to cool to lukewarm, all that's left is to fold in the rest of the ingredents. And that's it. Then just pour the batter into your pan and bake. Now, if possible, do try to resist eating this cake right away. Although it doesn't need weeks to age, it does benefit from being stored, at least a day or two.
A few things about this recipe are worth mentioning. I have used just raisins (I like to use a combination of dark and golden), but you can use a combination of raisins, dried cranberries, and dried cherries. Spices can also be adjusted to your taste, adding more or less of each. Finally, if you are an avid fan of fruit cakes and want to make them year round, it might be a good idea to pick up extra candied fruit during the holiday season as it can be difficult to find during the rest of the year.