- 200 g glacé cherries, quartered
- 4 T brandy
- 2 t cocoa
- 1 t instant coffee
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 kg fruit cake mix
- 1½ t bicarbonate of soda
- 300 g sugar
- 125 g butter
- 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 360 g cake flour
- 1½ t baking powder
- a pinch salt
- 1 t mixed spice
- 1 t ground ginger
Preheat the oven to 140°C. Soak the cherries in half the brandy for 30 minutes.
Dissolve the cocoa and instant coffee in the boiling water.
Place this mixture, the fruitcake mix, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and soaked cherries. Stir well and allow the mixture to cool.
Grease a 23 cm cake tin and line the base and sides with about 10 layers of brown paper or baking paper. Make a “lid” using heavy tin foil.
Add the eggs to the cooled mixture. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, mixed spice and ginger together and add to the mixture. Stir well, then pour the batter into the cake tin and put the tin foil on top.
Bake for 3¼ hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool and pour the remaining brandy over the cake. Remove from the cake tin and wrap in tin foil. Store in an airtight container for at least a week before serving. If you’re going to keep it for longer, add a bit of brandy weekly to keep the cake moist.
Cook’s note: Ice with royal icing if you like.
“I can’t remember a Christmas without one of my mom’s delicious fruit cakes with extra cherries and almonds. She’d start assembling the ingredients in mid-November, bake and splash brandy over the cake for almost a month before Christmas for a rich, moist cake. My siblings and I are all grown up, so now she makes three small loaf cakes, one for each of us. There’s always space for a sliver of this cake, be warned though, it won’t just be one slice!” – Liesl Nicholson