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Whole fruit and nut cake

This fruit and nut cake is brilliant at Christmas time, or any time of year!
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup walnut halves
  • ¼ cup pistachio kernels
  • ¾ cup whole raw almonds
  • ½ cup brazil nuts
  • 150 g mixed dried yellow or orange fruit – eg dried pineapple mango, papaya, apricots
  • 75 g mixed dried dark red fruit – eg dried cherries or cranberries
  • 75 g crystallised ginger
  • 75 g green glacé cherries
  • ¼ cup whisky
  • 1 cup dried dates chopped
  • 1 cup sun-dried figs chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 50 g butter softened
  • ½ cup firmly packed soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves or mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ orange finely grated zest and juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 150⁰C fanbake. Grease a large loaf tin (about 22cm x 12cm x 7cm).
  • In a large bowl, soak nuts, dried fruit, ginger and glacé cherries in the whisky.
  • Place dates, figs and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil while stirring to break up the fruit. Keep stirring until you have a paste. Stir paste into the bowl containing the soaked fruit and nuts.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Whisk in the egg and mix until light and smooth. Stir in the ground almonds.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, spices and a large pinch of salt together and fold into the cake mixture with the orange zest and juice and the vanilla extract. Fold in the bowl of nut and fruit mix.
  • Sprinkle a little flour around the greased loaf tin, then shake out the excess. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and smooth out so it is evenly filled. Bake for 1-1½ hours. The cake may cook quickly, depending on your oven, so check cake after 1 hour. When the top of the cake is slightly split, it is ready.
  • Remove from oven and leave cake in the tin for at least 30 minutes, then loosen the sides with a round-ended knife and turn out onto a rack.

TIPS:

  • You can find dried cherries in the bulk food aisle of the supermarket or local food store.
  • Use a serrated knife to slice cake into four thick slices. Wrap in waxed paper and package for gifts.

Notes

Fruit and nut cake is a simple way to share the special taste of the festive season. It’s great as a gift too, wrap it in waxed baking paper and tie with nice string. You can also cut it into thick slabs and give as a gift like that. It’s so handy to have in the pantry over the festive season for when guests stop by.
I haven’t iced this cake, but you could add an almond icing if you like it that way.
Serve this cake with a cup of tea for a delicious and Christmassy afternoon tea.