I love a rich, dark fruit cake, but here’s an equally tasty fruit cake that’s a little lighter, a little zingier and a lot “oranger”.
Serves: 10 – 12
Time: 5 minutes the night before, then next day 1hr 40 – 1hr 50 minutes + cooling & decorating time
For baking: A 20cm/8” loose bottomed, reasonably deep, round tin
Optional decoration: A selection of star shaped cutters
- 100ml/3½fl oz orange juice
- 100g/3½oz mixed dried fruit pre soaked in orange juice
- 125g/4½oz golden raisins “ “ “ “
- A little oil or butter for greasing the tin
- 225g/8oz plain white flour (either normal or gluten free)
- 25g/1oz oat bran* or oat meal*
- 1 tsp xanthan gum powder (only if baking GF)
- 2 tsp baking powder*
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened, or use baking spread
- 150g/5oz soft light brown sugar (or light Muscovado)
- 25g/1oz soft dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp treacle or golden syrup
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of one orange
- 2 tbsp Demerara sugar
* For a absolutely gluten free cake you need to check these ingredients as they could contain gluten.
- About 3 Tbsp of apricot glaze or jam
- Orange fondant icing
- White fondant icing
Before baking, ideally the night before – Soak the dried fruit in 100ml/3½fl oz orange juice
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C / fan 140°C / 325°F / Gas 3. Grease and line the tin with baking parchment.
2. Sift the flour, oat bran, xanthan gum powder (if using GF flour), baking powder and nutmeg into a large bowl. Mix together then add in the butter, sugars, eggs, treacle and vanilla extract.
3. Beat until a smooth mixture is achieved then stir in the dried fruit and orange zest.
4. Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface with a palette knife. Tap the tin firmly on a work surface to remove any trapped air then sprinkle the top with Demerara sugar.
NB The decorating option still works OK onto a sugary top, but if you prefer working with a smoother surface, leave out the Demerara.
5. Bake for 80 – 90 minutes, until well risen, firm and golden brown. And/or test with a skewer inserted into the middle. If the skewer comes out clean and dry, the cake has baked. Leave it in the tins for 15 – 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully. As it’s cooling, brush the cake with warm apricot glaze. (This can be watered down a little.)
6. For the decorating option shown here, simply roll out the orange fondant and cut out stars. Set them aside and mix some white fondant with the orange for a lighter colour and cut out a few more stars. For a third shade, simply add more white. Just press them into the glaze lightly while it’s still sticky.
Here are a few cakes that I’d love you to try: