I used to think that boiled fruit cakes never actually went into the oven. However, this isn’t the case – the fruit is first boiled and then goes into the mixture and is baked in the usual way, but the preparation is considerably quicker and easier than making a regular fruitcake. Give it a go! It’s a great short-cut version, perfect for those of us who are pressed for time.
Put the dates, cranberries, goji berries or raisins, blueberries and apricots into a pan with the water, butter and sugar and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the mixture is cooked, set it aside to cool to room temperature. This will take about half an hour.
When the fruit mixture is cool, add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, and spices and mix together to just combine. Transfer the mixture into the tin and then make a slight dip using a wooden spoon in the middle of the mixture – this helps the cake to rise more evenly. Pop the cake into the oven and
About 10 minutes before the cake is cooked, spread the pecans out in a baking tin and slide them into the oven. Cook them until they are just toasted and then remove. Set aside to cool.
While the cake is still warm, brush the top generously with the apricot jam and arrange the toasted pecan nuts with the glacé cherries on top of the cake as per the picture. Brush the nuts and cherries with some more of the apricot jam and then leave the cake to cool completely.
When the cake is cool, wrap it in baking parchment and overwrap with foil. If time allows, leave in a cool dark place for about 3–7 days, then cut into slices to serve.
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.