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Lockdown day #231 Festive light fruit cake. For all those who don’t like the dark fruit cakes with dates, raisins, citrus zest. This one is not as heavy, has ground almonds (and cake flour), cherries, pecans and golden sultanas. I sprinkle with triple sec or almond liqueur when it comes out of the oven (not brandy).

It’s a quick and easy bake. You can use a Bundt baking tin but I prefer small loaf tins as it’s easier to cut and store a loaf.

  • 250 g/280 ml butter or baking margarine (I use butter, always)
  • 210 g/250 ml castor sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 100 g/250 ml ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 1 ml almond essence
  • 210 g/375 ml cake flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 ml ground cinnamon
  • 1 ml ground ginger
  • 1 ml ground nutmeg
  • 100 g/250 ml sultanas (I soak in boiling water for hour) then drain
  • 100 g/250 ml coarsely chopped pecans
  • 100 g/150 ml glacé cherries (red and green) quartered
  • 50 g/125 ml whole or slivered almonds to decorate
  • 100 ml brandy to sprinkle (I used Triple Sec orange liqueur but would use Almond liqueur if I had it on hand)

Beat together butter/margarine and castor sugar until creamy (I use Kenwood flexible beater) add eggs, ground almonds, vanilla and almond essence and beat again. Change to the K-beater and add flour, salt and spices and beat until blended. Add the pecans, cherries and sultanas and mix until combined.

Line one average loaf tin (about 380 x 110 x 65 mm), two small tins (about 210 x 90 x 70 mm) or about 12 mini loaf tins with ungreased baking paper or double layer of well greased wax paper.

Spoon the batter into the tins to make each about 3/4 full (I weigh the tins with batter in it’s more accurate). Press the almonds onto the batter and cover each tin with greased aluminum foil.

Place the tins on a baking tray to shield from the heat below and bake in preheated oven at 140°C (I used the Thermofan function) about 2 and half hours for the larger tin, 1 and half hours for the smaller loaf tins or 50 minutes for the mini loaves until light golden and thoroughly baked if tested with metal skewer. Remove the aluminum foil and bake a short while longer to slightly brown the top if necessary. I put it back in oven for 4 minutes.

Cool for a few minutes, loosen, turn out of tins, remove the baking paper and sprinkle with brandy or whatever liqueur you decide to use. Cool completely and wrap in aluminum foil. If gifts are made wrap in cellophane and decorate with a bow.

Note 1:
You will notice there is no baking powder as the eggs provide a bit of lift. It does not rise a lot if you look at the levels in my tins before and after baking.
Note 2:
I made a double batch of the recipe to get 4 small loaf tins.

I’m going to dust with icing sugar just before cutting in slices and serving.

Up to a month wrapped in foil. Sprinkle with a little brandy from time to time.

Only necessary in hot humid environment.

Mix double the recipe at a time but ensure that there is at least 30 mm between tins in oven for good circulation of hot air.

Try not to eat the batter as it’s delicious with all the ground almonds

Recipe:  Carolié de Koster
Photo and recipe changes: Elsabie Templeton

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