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Rich Fruit Cake
recipe cake
Preparation Time 30 minutes • Cooking Time 2½ hours, plus cooling • Cuts into 16 slices • Per Slice 277
calories, 11g fat (of which 6g saturates), 38g carbohydrate, 0.2g salt • Easy
1kg (2¼lb) mixed dried fruit
 100g (3½oz) ready-to-eat dried prunes, roughly chopped
 50g (2oz) ready-to-eat dried figs, roughly chopped
 100g (3½oz) dried cranberries
 2 balls preserved stem ginger in syrup, grated and syrup reserved
 grated zest and juice of 1 orange
 175ml (6fl oz) brandy
 2 splashes Angostura bitters
 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra to grease
 175g (6oz) dark muscovado sugar
 200g (7oz) self-raising flour
 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
 ½ tsp ground cloves
 4 medium eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan oven) mark 2. Grease a 20.5cm (8in) round, deep cake tin and line the base and sides with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put all the dried fruit into a very large pan and add the ginger, 1 tbsp reserved ginger syrup, the orange zest and juice, brandy and Angostura bitters. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the butter and sugar and heat gently to melt. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the flour, spices and beaten eggs and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Wrap the outside of the tin in brown paper and secure with string to protect the cake during cooking. Bake for 2–2½ hours until the cake is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Leave to cool in the tin for 2–3 hours, then remove from the tin, leaving the greaseproof paper on, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap the cake in a layer of clingfilm, then in foil. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for up to three months.
 If you like, after the cake has matured for two weeks, prick it all over with a metal skewer and sprinkle with 1 tbsp brandy. Leave to soak in, then rewrap and store as before.
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