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Boiled Cakes

Posted 14/01/2009 by Liz Hinds

Homemade Fruitcake

Let’s start off by explaining that boiled cakes aren’t actually boiled. They’re baked in an oven like any other cake but the ingredients – the fruit, fat, sugar, spices and liquid – are boiled before being combined with the flour and eggs.

Boiled cakes tend to be a little lighter than traditional rich Fruit Cakes, and they’re quicker to bake and simpler to prepare. The boiling cuts out the need for any creaming; it also helps with the flavour and the texture of the cake, making it more moist than some simple fruit cakes.

A boiled cake is often recommended as a last minute alternative to Christmas Cake.

Fruit Cake – Recipe 1

  • 350g (12oz) dried fruit, a mixture of sultanas, raisins and currants
  • 110g (4oz) butter
  • 110g (4oz) Demerara sugar
  • 150ml (5fl oz or ¼ pint) water
  • 225g (8oz) self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 free range eggs (lightly beaten)

Place the fruit, butter, sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.

While the mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC Fan Oven / 325 F / Gas Mark 3). Grease and base line an 8” tin. Sieve together the flour and spice. When the mixture has cooled stir in the flour and the eggs. Mix well and pour into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 150ºC (130ºC Fan Oven / 300 F / Gas Mark 2) and continue to cook for another 1½ hours.

Allow to cool slightly in the tin before turning out and cooling on a wire rack. Serve dusted with caster sugar.

Fruit Cake – Recipe 2

  • 110g (4oz) plain wholewheat flour
  • 110g (4oz) white self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 110g (4oz) margarine
  • 175g (6oz) dark brown sugar
  • 175g (6oz) currants
  • 175g (6oz) sultanas
  • 50g (2oz) mixed peel
  • 240ml (8fl oz) water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 free range eggs (lightly beaten)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC Fan Oven / 350 F / Gas Mark 4). Grease and base line an 8” tin. Sieve together the salt and flours, returning the sieved out bits of bran to the bowl, and set aside.

Place the margarine, sugar, fruit, peel, water, bicarb and spice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Stir in the eggs and flour. Mix well and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for about 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Fruit Cake – Recipe 3

  • 385g (14oz) mixed dried fruit
  • 175g (6oz) soft brown sugar
  • 110g (4oz) margarine
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 275ml (10fl oz or ½ pint) whole milk
  • 350g (12oz) self raising flour
  • 2 free range eggs

Preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC Fan Oven / 325 F / Gas Mark 3). Grease and base line an 8” tin.

Put the fruit, sugar, margarine, spice, bicarbonate and milk into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then allow to cool slightly. Sieve the flour onto the mixture and beat in with the eggs. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 150ºC (130ºC Fan Oven / 300 F / Gas Mark 2) and continue to cook for another 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool and dredge with icing sugar before serving.

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