For the fruit mix (soak overnight):
- 100 g dried apricots
- 100 g dried prunes
- 100 g currants
- 75 g golden raisins
- 50 g glace candied cherries
- 50 g mixed citrus peel
- 2 – 2½ cups of rum or unsweetened apple/orange juice, as needed
- For the cake batter:
Fruit mix drained (reserve soaking liquid)
- 200 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 175 g unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 200 g brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp sweet rum or fruit juice from reserved soaking liquid
- 100 g walnuts chopped
For maturing the fruit cake (optional):
- 1 – 2 tbsp brandy or choice of liquor per brushing
Make and soak the fruit mix:
Cut up larger dried fruit into roughly the same size as the smaller fruit. Combine in a glass bowl. Pour in enough rum (or juice) to cover all the fruit. Stir to moisten all the fruit.
Cover tightly with clingwrap or transfer to a suitable glass jar with an air-tight lid. Leave overnight to soak at room temperature, or 3 – 5 days for deeper flavour. Note: Fruit mix soaked in juice will need to be placed in the chiller.
When preparing to bake the fruit cake, drain the fruit mix, and reserve 3 tbsp of the soaking rum or juice.
Bake the fruit cake:
Pre-heat oven to 150°C (300°F). Set the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Place a tray of hot water on the bottom of the oven. Line a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with baking paper with a 2-inch overhang, and grease.
Sift the flour, baking powder and ground spices three times (3x). Using a stand mixer or hand-held beater, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 mins.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Fold the sifted flour mixture into the butter mixture in three batches, until well combined.
Fold in the syrup, milk and sweet rum (or juice) until well combined. At this point, the batter should be smooth, thick and of uniform consistency throughout.
Lastly, fold in the fruit mix (drained) and chopped walnuts by hand. Don’t be alarmed, it will be very chunky! Make sure all the fruits and nuts are fully coated in batter.
Open the oven door SLOWLY from the side (and not standing in front) as hot steam will escape. Bake in water bath at 150°C (300°F) for 2 – 2½ hours, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cover with foil when the top is golden to prevent over-browning. When done, allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack.