Sunday, 24 February 2008

Family fruit cake

This past week at the cabins has been a lovely family time. It felt as though we were in a little magical world of our own. We didn't really see or speak to anyone else, other than polite chit chat at the bakery each morning when we bought our pies and bread in Thornton Le Dale.

The weather was freezing! For all but our last day the temperature didn't rise above minus six. That was quite a shock to our soft London ways. We spent our mornings going for long bike rides and hikes through the narnia landscape, and our afternoons playing
Settlers of Catan, Magic: The Gathering and Carcassonne and drinking hot chocolate and cups of tea.

Tomorrow we all go back to work and school and I feel as though we are going back into our separate lives once again. We'll each be working at our own things and evenings will be a catch up of what we have all done, rather than a reflection of a day spent together.

So this morning I decided to bake a family fruit cake to mark the end of our lovely, intimate week. I use my Grandmother's cake tin to bake this in, which just adds another wholesome dimension of family-ness to the whole thing. We will each take big squares of this to work and school this week. It is a very forgiving cake and will withstand being hurled about within an 8 year old's lunchbox very well.

The recipe is very loosely based on one in Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookery Book. I detest candied peel more than almost anything else in the whole world, so I started by swapping chopped, dried apricots for the peel in Margaret Costa's recipe and then made a whole load more changes. Here is my version.

Family Fruit Cake
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 175g butter or marg
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 350g raisins and sultanas
  • 25g halved glace cherries
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 50g dried apricots, chopped
  • large handful flaked almonds

Line the base of a large loaf tin or deep square 18cm tin with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugar together and beat in the honey. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and adding the occasional spoonful from the flour if the mixture looks like curdling. Lightly fold in the rest of the flour. Stir in the fruit and lemon rind.

Turn the batter into the prepared tin and scatter the almonds on top of it. Bake at gas mark 4 for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to gas mark 3 and bake for a further 45 minutes, covering the top with foil towards the end if it is browning too much.


  1. Oooh, yummy, that is being added to the recipe folder straight away! Glad you had a lovely time, your photos are great, especially the one of you and O. x

  2. Glad you had a good week. I love C's rosy cheeks! (I'm assuming that is C!)
    I don't want to go back to work tomorrow! I'd much rather be at home and bake that yummy looking cake...

  3. I am glad you realise what we Northerners have to put up with weather wise! It looks like you had a really good time! the cake looks absolutely gorgeous and i do not really like fruit cake!

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  5. Glad you enjoyed your holiday - having just looked at the link, I've realised we are going to the Cornish version in the summer!

    Love the photographs, they even made me feel chilly!

    Must try that cake out. Am not a fan myself but I know a few people who are.

  6. glad you had a lovely time, I have to say I thought of you several times when it was minus 6 here and wondered what weather you were having!
    the cake looks lovely, what a nice idea!

  7. Hello, Sweden here!! What a lovely blogg you svit!!So nice things!

    Thanks for the visit!!

    God Evning Millan

  8. glad you had a good time. how beautiful that area looks! but it does look cold. minus 6 -- yikes! and the cake looks quite yummy. :)



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