This Everyday Fruit Cake, cooked in a loaf tin, is almost apologetically easy. Just weigh, stir and cook, which is just as well for me because it's in great demand in our house. For special occasions, I will make something that takes more effort but, for everyday eating, this cake is perfect - tasty, quick and easy.
I often make an Everyday Fruit Cake to take with us when we go on holiday because it travels well and keeps for a week. It's the ideal cake with a cup of tea when you've been out for the day. We're off to the coast in a couple of weeks and the sea air, combined with lots of walks, always makes me hungry. In fact, now I'm wondering whether to take two.
The beauty of this cake is that you can use whatever dried fruit you have, add nuts and cherries - anything you like or have. The only thing you have to remember is to keep the total weight to 400g (14oz).
My special ingredient in this Everyday Fruit Cake is a spoonful of jam - any flavour. I started putting jam in when I was given a couple of jars that had been slightly overcooked. The jam was too stiff and treacly tasting to use as it was, so I added it to a fruit cake and liked it.
If you don't have any jam, you could use marmalade or honey - or even golden syrup (but not too much or the cake will be very sweet).
All-in-one method makes for an easy cake
To make this fruit cake easy, I use the all-in-one method. You can use any machine to mix the batter (as the professionals call the cake mix without the fruit).
Whatever you use, make sure you stir the fruit in by hand. It only takes a minute but then you won't chop it up.
Is this a moist cake?
Yes it is, BUT cakes can turn out dry for a number of reasons, mostly to do with the bake time and temperature. Unfortunately what the thermostat says may not be accurate!
If your cakes turn out dry, check out my article Why Is My Cake Dry? for some of the most common reasons and the solutions.
Make two and freeze one
I do usually make two at a time and freeze one. When there are only two of us at home I often cut them in half and freeze three halves. That way I'm certain the fruit cake always tastes fresh. I keep it in the fridge, which isn't essential, but it does keep the cake moist.
How to make it gluten-free
Thanks to Vanessa, one of my readers: I’ve made this several times using gluten-free flour, I just add a teaspoon of baking powder and twice as much milk, as I find gluten-free flour tends to absorb more moisture.
How do you make a vegan Fruit Cake?
Thanks again to Vanessa, for her advice about egg replacement: I make this vegan by using the equivalent of 3 flaxseed eggs (1 egg replacement – 1 tablespoon flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water, blitzed until its smooth and starts to thicken up).
And of course, use your favourite substitutes for milk and butter.
Cake tin conversion
- If you don't have a loaf tin, you can make this fruit cake in an 18cm (7-inch) round deep tin or a 15cm (6-inch) square tin.
- To make this recipe in 2 1lb loaf tins, increase the cooking temperature by 10°C. Halve the cooking time and keep testing until it's done.
What else do you need to make Everyday Fruit Cake?
- 2lb loaf tin - I have two of these so that I can make double quantities
- Baking parchment loaf tin liner - stops the cake sticking and keeps the tin clean - so less washing up. You can also store the cake in the liner until you're ready to eat it, keeping it nice and moist. Just make sure you buy the right size for your loaf tin. Old fashioned loaf tins are squarer and deeper (and better for bread, I think) than the others which are good for cakes.
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Everyday Fruit Cake
For the Everyday Fruit Cake:
- 400 g mixed dried fruit see note
- 125 g butter at room temperature see note
- 3 large eggs
- 60 ml milk, (4 tablespoons)
- 1 rounded tablespoon jam (any flavour)
- 125 g soft brown sugar dark or light - see note
- 250 g self-raising flour see note
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice (10ml)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan/ gas mark 3/ 325°F
- Either grease the tin with butter or just pop the liner in
- Weigh the fruit into a bowl for later
For the Everyday Fruit Cake:
- Put all the ingredients except the fruit into a large bowl (or your mixer/food processor).125 g butter at room temperature, 3 large eggs, 60 ml milk,, 1 rounded tablespoon jam (any flavour), 125 g soft brown sugar, 250 g self-raising flour, 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- Beat together well, but don't overdo it
- Scrape the mixture down and mix again
- Add the dried fruit and stir in by hand. You don't want to break up the fruit400 g mixed dried fruit
- Carefully put the mixture in the tin/liner and use a knife to make a slight depression in the top of the mixture. This means you will have less of a domed top
- Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and test with a toothpick. When it comes out clean the cake is done. If not, return to the oven for 10 minutes and repeat. You may need up to 1 hour 45 mins
- Take the cake out of the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool
- Store in an airtight box when cool. (You can leave the liner on until the cake is served)
Everyday Cooks Tips:Ingredients:
- Dried fruit: Use any mixture that you like. Either a ready mix, or whatever you have or like. I put cherries in mine and I don't wash them for this recipe. Just cut in half. If you like nuts add 50g of flaked almonds and 350g fruit
- Butter: If it's cold, heat in the microwave for 30 sec on LOW. Repeat if necessary. Don't melt it
- Brown sugar: Dark or light is fine. I prefer light in this recipe as dark brown sugar has a stronger flavour
- Flour: If you don't have self-raising flour, use plain flour and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder.