A complete fruitcake
I don't usually make a Christmas cake. In Australia, it's too hot for a rich, heavy cake. But here, it's winter and a spicy, fruity cake with afternoon tea seemed in order. So that's where my Saturday morning went. I had Pandora playing its new classical station on my computer — Scarlatti and Vivaldi resonating through the kitchen and dining room — and I set to with the makings and my trusty Australian Woman's Weekly 'Cakes and Slices' cookbook.
I decided on a boiled fruit cake, as it's simply a matter of weighing everything, boiling up the fruit in brandy and butter, and then stirring in the eggs and flour. Easy peasy.
Everything is so wonderfully convenient here in America! Look at how neatly packaged the dark-brown sugar is — that little plastic portion (under the pan handle) is exactly a cup — that's how it comes. And the butter comes in cute little four-ounce sticks. I had to do a bit of maths to translate the metric recipe to the imperial, and then allow for the fact that an Australian cup isn't the same as an American one, but what the hey! In it all went.
It was a little disconcerting to discover that what I thought was mixed peel, called 'citron glace', had no flavour whatsoever. The recipe also called for glace cherries and glace pineapple, and these, too, had absolutely no discernable flavour. And when you can't tell a piece of pineapple from a piece of citrus peel ... well. I substituted some of that for dried apricots, much more tangy.
I enjoyed the boiling part - the smell of the brandy, fruit and butter was out of this world!
And the result was pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. It took hours and hours for it to cool, and if I can find marzipan, I shall make some royal icing and have even more fun.