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Easy Lunchbox Fruitcake
Easy Fruitcake Recipe
This recipe is for the easiest way to make a nutritious fruitcake for the children's lunchbox, but with a few additions it is good enough for any festivity that requires a fruitcake.
It's Easy and Healthy
Dried fruit is sweet enough on its own, so the cake does not require added sugar. There is no need to add butter or other shortening and even the eggs can be omitted if necessary. The tins are lined so the only things needing cleaning are the bowl and spoon. Rinse in cold water straight after use and they will wash easily.
I made this cake in varying quantities for my children's lunch boxes (and mine) for years. The only problem was that it never lasted long enough. I've just made a large quantity of the celebration kind and cooked it in three tins of different sizes. By the time Christmas and some family birthdays arrive, they will be nicely matured. The waiting really adds to the flavour of a birthday or Christmas fruitcake.
This cake is easy to make, but there are choices you need to make first.
- The amount of dried fruit you use is your choice.
- The dried fruit you choose to use is your choice; if in a hurry, you may simply use a supermarket pack of dried fruit.
- An eggless fruitcake is fine. You may omit the eggs and this recipe will work quite well. The cake should still be moist, but if the yours turns out to be a little dry and crumbly, simply spread with butter as with a teacake.
- If the cake is intended for a celebration of some kind, you may decide to use a range of fruits such as raisins, sultanas, currants and then add in candied peel, glacé cherries, slivered almonds, or any amount of other items such as glacé pineapple and ginger.
- It won't be quite as healthy, but you can use all white self-raising flour if you prefer.
- You may want it to be a fruitcake with rum. Simply by adding some rum or other alcohol, either to the tea and fruit when soaking, or to the mixture you can turn a celebration fruitcake into a Christmas cake. Make it several weeks before Christmas and the alcohol can act as a preservative as well as a flavouring. Don't forget the cherries! You can also flavour your cake with vanilla or almond essence.
- Lining the cake tins helps to prevent the cake from burning and keeps the tins clean - no messy washing-up.
- If you want to decorate the celebration version, keep it upside down, remove the baking paper and you have a lovely smooth surface to work on. Paint it first with warmed apricot jam that has been sieved to remove lumps. This will help the covering of icing or marzipan to adhere to the cake.
The ingredients and instructions given below are for the simplest fruitcake suitable for adding slices to a lunchbox. You can choose to add any or all of the above suggestions and the only things that need adjusting is the quantity of black tea and the number of eggs.
- 1 kg mixed dried fruit, with any stems removed
- 1 pot black leaf-tea, fairly strong
- 2 eggs, beaten, but not frothy
- wholemeal self-raising flour, or half wholemeal and half white
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon, or other preferred spice
- Put the fruit in a large bowl, add the hot tea to just above the same level, cover with a clean cloth and leave to stand overnight.
- Heat the oven to 200 deg C or about 390 deg F. Line the cake tins with baking paper so the sides are covered and there is a double layer on the bottom.
- Stir the fruit a little. Add the beaten eggs, spice and flour and stir until well mixed. Continue adding flour and stirring until the mixture is a good, moist consistency.
- Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and smooth the top, leaving a slight hollow in the centre so that it rises flat.
- Place in the centre of the oven. After about 15 minutes turn the heat down to 125 deg C or about 260 deg F. Continue to cook for about one hour. About 5 minutes before it is ready, open the oven door slowly and test the cake with a cake tester or skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If not, it may need a little longer. Close the oven door slowly to prevent the cake from going flat in the draught.
- When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and tip it gently out of the tin onto a cooling wire stand. Leave until cool and then store in an airtight container - if it gets that far!
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