Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fruity Fruit Cake... and Fudge Sauce!

I absolutely LOVE Fruitcake. So does my husband. My mother makes the best fruitcakes. I remember her spending hours preparing, cooking, icing (marzipan and royal icing) and decorating Christmas cakes for both sets of grandparents. I also have memories of mum in tears one year as we woke to the smell of burnt cake. The automatic oven cut-off failed to work and so many expensive ingredients - that mum had to travel far to procure - literally went up in smoke. 

We were somewhat taken aback to find that Fruitcake is looked upon with some scorn in the US. Fruitcake is a seasonal item and it is one of those Christmas gifts supposed to cause some chagrin! We however, miss it. We can't even get a Lions Club cake! Fruitcake has therefore been added to our repertoire of food that we have had to learn to cook ourselves. 

Mum gave me a recipe that she referred to as Diabetic Fruit Cake. It has no added sugar and relies upon the sweetness of the dried fruit... a whole lot of dried fruit! I have made a few alterations to incorporate more whole wheat and have increased the cooking time as it always seemed to come out underdone. I think there is still some scope for revision of ingredients, quantities and cooking time. I will keep experimenting :-) 

Our family enjoys this cake - with a cup of tea or as a lunchbox treat. 

1 kg Mixed Dried Fruit* 
70 ml Port or Brandy
250 ml Water 
1 tsp Baking Soda 

300 g White Wheat Flour 
2 tsp Baking Powder 
1 tsp Mixed Spice

220 ml Evaporated Milk 

Place the fruit, water port/brandy and Baking Soda in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes. Cool (for at least an hour).
Preheat oven to 150℃/ 300℉. Grease and line a 20cm Springform pan. 
Mix and sift together the Flour, Baking Powder and Mixed Spice. 
When the fruit has cooled, add the Flour mix. Add the Evaporated Milk and mix together. 
Place cake mixture into pan and smooth the top. 
Bake for approximately 1½ to 2 hours. 
Cool in tin. 
* A mix of Raisins, Sultanas/Golden Raisins, Currants, Mixed GlacĂ© Citrus Peel or Fruit. 
I typically use a full box of raisins, then make up the rest of the weight with Golden Raisins and Currants. It is difficult to find glacĂ© citrus peel in the US. Omit if it can't be found. It is also not easy to find Mixed Spice. Note that this is a mix of spices and should not be confused with Allspice (which is a spice in itself). There is a recipe for Mixed Spice here. If I can't find it, I omit the Mace and add a little more nutmeg. 
If you can't find White Wheat Flour - use a mix of half Whole Grain and half All-Purpose/Plain Flour. 

The Fudge Sauce is NOT served with the Fruit cake... it is merely a means of using the leftover Evaporated Milk I have after opening a large can. This recipe has been adapted from the recipe here. We find this quantity more than enough for all of us - warmed and poured over icecream - or to make banana splits.  

3 tbls Salted Butter
1 ½ oz unsweetened cooking chocolate 
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup (4 to 5 oz) Evaporated Milk

Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler (I use a glass bowl over a saucepan of water. Don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. 
Once the butter and chocolate have melted, add the sugar ¼ cup at a time, ensuring sugar is incorporated before next addition. The mixture will be thick and grainy at this stage. 
Continue to stir over heat and add the Evaporated Milk - around 1 oz at a time. Stir between additions until well combined. Dependent upon how thick you like sauce, 4oz will probably be ample. 

I use salted butter - and do not add any extra salt. 

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