Maureen Gill’s Marvellous Christmas Cake

makes a 23 cm square cake

This recipe is nuts but when all your neighbours impress upon you how delicious and moist Maureen’s fruit cake is and press the recipe into your hands it was impossible to resist giving it a go. It is a fruitcake recipe like none other, beautifully moist and not sweet.

Degree of difficulty : impossibly easy you don’t even need an electric mixer.

We used the fruit at hand [listed below] Maureen’s recipe simply lists 1kg mixed dry fruit and 1 packet of glacé cherries and doesn’t include the pistachios. Other than that we have weighed the two cups of self-raising flour for accuracy.

To be totally honest we hacked off chunks as soon as it came from the oven, slathered it with cream…died and went to heaven! Subsequently slathered with butter and sliced English Vintage Aged Cheddar….an Oliver tradition that usually adds new seasons apricot jam. Yes an Oliver post Christmas treat along with leg ham with a salad of tomatoes, salad onions and apple cucumbers in white wine vinegar….go figure we still go mad for it!

​180g currants
450g dried cranberries
70g mixed chopped peel
300g dried dates, chopped into 3
600 ml carton Farmer’s Union iced coffee

approximately 25g unsalted butter, very soft
150g pistachios
[we always use pistachios from The Food Forest]
1 egg, room temperature
270g self-raising flour

day one Weigh the fruit into a mixing bowl and toss over to mix the fruit evenly. Give the iced coffee a good shake, add it to the fruit and mix over. Cover and refrigerate, returning to stir the fruit over at least three times.

day two Take the marinated fruit out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to put the cake in the oven.

Bringing the fruit to room temperature cuts down cooking time and means there is less chance of the cake being drier on the edges.

pre heat oven to 150°C

Butter the tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Add the pistachios and whisk the egg and mix everything together. Weigh the self-raising flour into the bowl and mix together. Scrape into the prepared tin, smooth out the top and put it in the oven.

Place the cake in the middle of the oven and set a timer for one hour. Test the centre of the cake with a skewer it will most likely require another 15 – 20 minutes.

Stand the cake on a rack [in the tin] and set a time for 15 minutes. When the timer goes gently turn the cake onto the rack and carefully remove the baking paper. Allow to cool completely, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container. The cake cuts easily with a sharp knife.

cooks note

It hasn’t been tried but I am certain you could steam this wonderful cake and serve it as a plum pudding because it has the moistness of a good suet pudding without the suet.

If you accidentally get the outside edge of a cake like this a little overcooked [a little on the dry side, not burnt] thoroughly wet a clean tea towel, wring it out and wrap the cake in it and set a timer for 15 minutes…..we love saves like that.