Saturday, April 14, 2018

Whole dried fruit cake

While I dislike Christmas-style fruit cakes, I very much enjoy cakes and breads that are studded with dried fruit. There are many traditional baking recipes of this type, from the Welsh bara brith to the Irish barmbrack and plenty in between. This cake doesn't follow any of the traditional recipes exactly, but does employ the tried and true method approach of soaking dried fruit in tea ahead of time. It includes some sugar, so is more cake than bread, but doesn't add any fat. There is plenty of flavour and plenty of dried fruit.

I made this over the Easter weekend when it was still cold and wintry. I'm pleased to say that spring is finally in the air - the sun is shining, flowers are out, green leaves are sprouting everywhere, and it's meant to get to 18'C this week. I'm soaking it all up. This cake would be a perfect accompaniment to a sunny afternoon, but it will also boost your spirits if you're experiencing grey weather.

I have called this a 'whole dried fruit cake' but the apricots and dates were chopped in half. However, the fruit chunks are so much larger than the chopped fruit in Christmas cakes that the experience is of eating whole (and delicious) pieces.

Whole dried fruit cake
A dense, moist cake liberally studded with dried fruit
Serves 10

Author: Bite-sized thoughts, adapted from a recipe for barmbrack cake in the Guardian

Soak the fruit ahead of time / overnight

100g dried apricots, halved
100g sultanas or raisins
100g dried dates, halved
300ml tea (I used Early Grey rooibus tea but regular black tea would be fine)
90g brown sugar
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp dried ginger
125ml non-dairy milk, or as needed (I used hemp milk)

The night before making this, or at least 4 hours ahead of time, combine the dried fruit and tea and set aside to soak.

When ready to make the cake, preheat your oven to 180'C and line a round cake tin with baking paper.

Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and dried ginger in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the dried fruit and tea and stir through. Add the milk gradually, stirring as you go, until the batter is moist. Use a little more milk if needed. The mixture should be thick but able to pour off a spoon.

Transfer the batter to your prepared tin and bake for 60 minutes. Check at 40 minutes and cover with foil if the top is starting to brown. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Do you enjoy dried fruit cakes?


  1. This cake looks gorgeous! I like fruit cakes, including Christmas cake.

  2. I do like fruit cakes and wouldn't mind a slice of this with a cuppa. Hip hip hooray to the sunshine, but sadly it did not last - piddling rain today :(

    1. But it's returning! Luckily this cake works with rain or sunshine :-)

  3. This looks delicious - I love all sorts of fruit cakes - they can be dry but when done well are so rich and that you understand why they were just for special occasions. I would love a slice of your cake - wanted to bake today but swam and crafted instead. So this will be a nice vicarious piece of cake for me. BTW it has been down to 17 C this weekend and getting chilly and wet.

    1. Swimming and crafting sound good alternatives to baking.

      We're up to 17'C this week and it feels warm to us!! But 17'C with sun is different to 17'C with wet - I hope you're enjoying autumn activities and coziness.

  4. I love all fruit cakes, Christmas and non-Christmas! I like that this recipe has tea in it - I'd definitely be happy to have a slice of this with a cuppa.

    1. And a cup of tea is the perfect accompaniment :-)

  5. This looks yummy. While I also don't appreciate Christmas cakes, I do like fruity cakes (I leave sultanas out when I make them as I am not a fan). Yours looks like it would be very tasty with a cup of tea.

    1. I'm glad to know there are others who don't like Christmas cake but do like dried fruit cakes!


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