A popular 1960 recipe.
230g (250ml) butter
200g (250ml) white sugar
150g (250ml) currants
150g (250ml) sultanas
75g (125ml) mixed peel
75g (125ml) chopped dates
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
5ml bicarbonate of soda
75g (125) chopped glace cherries
100g (250ml) chopped pecan nuts
275g (500ml) cake flour
5ml baking powder
Brandy or sherry to sprinkle over
Melt the butter over a moderate heat in a fairly large heavy based saucepan. Add the white sugar, currants, sultanas, mixed peel and dates. Mix the bicarb with a little water and add to the fruit mixture, together with rest of the water. Heat slowly to boiling point and simmer for 20minutes. Stir occasionally. Leave the mixture to stand overnight.
Stir the cherries, pecan nuts and brandy into the fruit mixture the next day. Sift the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt, stir into the mixture. Bet the eggs well and stir them in last. Preheat oven to 160C Place the over rack just under the middle position in the oven.
Grease a 23cm diameter saucepan or round cake pan, or a 20 x 20cm square pan. Line it with greaseproof paper. Grease the paper. Cut out two circles or squares exactly the size of the base of the tin used. Place on the base of tin, grease it.
Place the pan on a double layer of newspaper or brown paper on a baking sheet. Cut a strip, 2.5cm wider than the side of the pan, from double newspaper or brown paper. Tie it around the outside of the tin and string, see pic.
Spoon the batter into the tin. Make a slight hollow in the centre of the dough to ensure that the top of the cake will rise evenly. Cover with a 'lid' of greased proof paper. Bake for 1 hour at 160C. Turn down to 140C, bake for another hour. Turn down temp to 120C and bake for another hour or until done. A steady low heat is preferable to moderate heat as the outside of the cake often browns too quickly before the cake is cooked.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin, outside the oven. NEVER turn a fruitcake out immediately. Always let it cool for a while in the tin. It will come out of the tin easily.
Turn the cake out once cooled completely and remove the paper. Prick the top of the cake with a tester and sprinkle brandy or sherry over. Turn the cake over and repeat the procedure. Wrap the cake in foil and store it in a cake tin.