This is the fruit cake version of the Adaptable Sponge, given to my mother by a friend, Dorothy Spicer. We have both been making it for many years and it can be different every time as the ingredients are varied. If you use the ‘Knock Up’ Fruit Cake method to make a cake, then please consider sharing your version with me and others via the comments below - thank you.
The basic recipe can be adapted by varying the dried fruits, replacing some or all of the mixed dried fruit with dried apricots/dates/figs/cranberries, glacé cherries, crystallised ginger, nuts or seeds. Some of the the flour can be replaced with cocoa to give a chocolate fruit cake. The mixed spice can be omitted or replaced with dried ginger or another flavouring. The milk can be replaced with orange juice. Orange zest can be added as well. I usually double the quantities below, making either two small or one large cake and will take 2hrs – 2hrs 15mins in the oven. For this doubled quantity I used 5 eggs. Some links to adaptations of this basic method are listed after the recipe.
Basic Recipe: ‘Knock Up’ Fruit Cake
5ozs/140g soft margerine
2 or 3 eggs, depending on size
8ozs/250g self raising flour
2 fl ozs/60ml milk
5ozs/140g caster sugar – reserve 1-2tbsp for cake topping (optional)
10ozs/285g mixed dried fruit (replace some fruit with cherries – optional)
1 level tsp/5mg mixed spice
1. Preheat oven 150oC/300oF/Gas 2
2. Grease and line a loaf tin.
3. Cream the margerine and sugar together until soft and fluffy.
4. Gradually add the eggs to the mixture a little at a time and one by one, mixing well each time some is added.
5. Put the mixed fruit into a bowl and add 2 or 3 tbsp flour. Put the mixed fruit and flour mixture into the sieve and toss so the flour goes into the mixture and the fruit is coated with flour. (This will help stop the fruit from sinking.)
6. Sieve the remainder of the flour and the mixed spice into the cake mixture. Gently fold the fruit and flour into the mixture as well.
7. Add the milk and gently mix in.
8. Spoon into the pre-lined tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle over any reserved sugar to give a crunchy top.
9. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 2 hours, although check to see if it is cooked after 1hr 45minutes as it can become dry if overcooked. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake will come out clean if the cake is cooked.
10. Turn out and cool on a wire tray.
Further uses and adaptations of this basic recipe:
(Please leave comments about the following recipes with the recipe at the link given rather than here – thanks!)
Ginger Fruit Cake