Recipe Number One Hundred & Forty Eight: Page 65.
Although I'm still recovering from all the fruit cake I greedily consumed over Christmas, I really needed to crack on and make another. The Baking Bible is packed full of fruit cakes and I still have so many to make!
I had never heard of boiled fruit cake before and, to be honest, it didn't sound very appetising. The word boiled does little to inspire! I had to buy a deep 7 inch tin especially for this cake. As I did not expect to use this size very often I risked buying a cheap tin from the supermarket. I hoped I didn't live to regret my hasty decision!
I was enjoying a lovely lazy day and the idea of moving from my comfortable position on the sofa wasn't particularly tempting. However, the promise of cake was just enough to spur me into action. As we'd polished off my previous baking efforts so quickly, we hadn't eaten any cake for two whole days; the shakes had set in!!!
Lining tins has to be one of my least favourite jobs, after washing up of course! I wasn't happy that I not only had to line the base but also the sides of the tin. Although it is a faff, I realise that it's worth doing for a fruit cake. It would help to keep the cake moist and, I hoped, stop it from burning whilst in the oven. Proceedings were slowed considerably by my little boy who insisted that we should play his favourite game. Each time he trotted into the kitchen I had to exclaim “Mr. Speedy”. He’d then run giggling back into the living room only to reappear a few seconds later! This game went on for some time. Once my battle with the tin was complete, I could move on to the fun part – making the cake! The first ingredient was condensed milk. Using condensed milk in a fruit cake is a new one for me, but it's always fun to try something new. I grabbed my largest saucepan from the cupboard and poured in the sweet milk. When it came to weighing out the butter, I discovered to my horror that the scales were dead! The cake making came to an abrupt halt at this point. I was dressed in my scruffy baking clothes and my hair was stuck up on end, so Neil kindly saved my embarrassment and ran to the shop in search of the crucial battery. I think Neil must have batted his eyelashes as, for some reason, he was given the battery for free!!!! My desperate plea had been answered and the scales sprung back to life – PHEW!
It was good to have things back on track and I was soon weighing out the butter and adding it to the saucepan. It was then time to add the raisins, sultanas and currants. I was delighted also to include a generous quantity of glacé cherries. To me a fruit cake just isn't a fruit cake without glacé cherries. Naturally I couldn't resist pinching one or two! I placed the by now very full and very heavy saucepan onto the hob and turned the heat to its lowest setting. Once the butter had melted, I could let it simmer for a few minutes whilst stirring all the time – I didn't want it to stick. The aroma wafting from the pan was absolutely delicious. It smelled just like warm Christmas pudding. I was tempted to dive in with a spoon! The mixture needed to cool for ten minutes, so I used this time to follow the rest of the instructions. I tipped the flour and spices into a clean mixing bowl. I half expected that I'd need to reach for some sugar. Of course this wasn't necessary as the condensed milk would provide the required sweetness. Lastly I added in a couple of eggs and the slightly cooled heavily fruited mixture. I found it took a while to mix in the flour; I kept finding pockets of uncombined mixture. With straining muscles I lifted the mixing bowl and scooped the mixture into the awaiting tin. The tin was only just sufficient in size! I placed the full tin into the oven where it would stay for just over two hours.
Once I felt certain that the cake was cooked through I extracted it from the oven. The top of the cake was bumpy and messy. However, it had a certain charm. I was a bit annoyed though, as it looked overdone. I find it so hard to judge when a fruit cake is cooked; the sides and top always seem to burn. Once cold it was time to cut into the cake and have a taste. Cutting the cake was tricky and I wondered if using a saw might have been better than a knife. It had a rather tough crust! However, the inside of the cake was lovely and moist and I have to say it tasted delicious. The flavour of condensed milk came through and it had an almost toffee taste. Neil loved it and said it would make a fine Christmas cake. Thankfully neither of us has false teeth, so we can cope with the chewy crust!
|Crunchy on the outside - moist in the centre!!!|