I love the way people who are passionate about cooking are so generous with sharing their favourite recipes. A few years ago I was being interviewed on a radio show when a lovely lady whose name I failed to write down (sorry – I wish I could remember so I could say a proper thank you!) called in.
“I’ve got this amazing fruit cake that uses only three ingredients,” she said. “It’s just so impossibly easy and it’s really, really good.”
Well “impossibly easy” and “really, really good” are two phrases that hit the spot in my busy life, so I could feel my ears prick up.
I have to admit that when she told me the recipe I didn’t believe it could work. A great fruitcake that uses just three ingredients? I didn’t think so.
But I was intrigued and so I went home and made it. All I can say is WOW. All everyone who tried it could say was OMG WOW.
All you do is put a kilo of mixed dried fruit in a bowl, cover it with milk and leave it to soak overnight. The next day you stir in some self-raising flour, pour it into a cake tin and bake it. Just over an hour later you have an incredible, moist, light and flavoursome fruitcake – it's a Christmas miracle!
Because I can’t help myself tweaking any recipe I try, I have since played around with adding a teaspoon of mixed spice, or a few brazil nuts, both of which were good optional extras. Since I've shared it on social media people have written in to say they've made a dairy-free version by swapping out the milk for almond milk, fruit juice or ginger ale, with great success. Gluten-free self-raising flour works well too.
Brushing the top with about a tablespoon of sherry, rum or whiskey when it comes out of the oven is also a nice idea (if you are very sensitive to gluten avoid the whiskey). But actually, just as is, with those three ingredients – fruit, milk and flour – this is one hell of a fabulous cake.
Something this good deserves to be shared, so it's available here on my website.
For something a little bit special, I dust the top with icing sugar just before serving. You can lay a paper doily, piece of lace or cake decorating stencil over the top first to make festive patterns.
For other Christmas cake inspiration see my website.