It is a beautiful, fruity and nutty but light cake. Although it is supposed to be a Christmas cake, we all love it so much that I make it quite often. I make a large pan, and when it cools down I cut it into squares. I wrap two squares in cling film and keep them in the freezer. We have it for breakfast, with coffee, for whenever we feel puckish. It is not very sweet, but sweet enough to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Ingredients 1 cup butter or margarine 2 ½ cups flour 1 ¼ cup sugar ½ cup raisins ¼ cup almonds, without their skin ¼ cup walnuts ¾ cup mixed dried fruit chopped up ½ cup brandy or ½ cup milk 5 eggs 3 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Powdered sugar
Wash and dry the raisins. Chop up the dried fruit. I prefer to use fruit in syrup (sweets of the spoon, see recipes). They are softer and have more aroma. I used 1 fig, 2 pieces of bergamot and 2 tablespoons sour cherries. I put them in a strainer so that they didn’t have any syrup. Then I chopped them up. Roughly chop up the almonds and the walnuts.
Place the flour and the baking powder in a basin, add the fruit and the nuts and mix well. Leave them aside.
Separate the eggs, and beat the white until you have a stiff meringue. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they are light yellow and creamy. Beat the butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks with the sugar while you continue beating. Put the baking soda in the brandy, stir it and add it to the mixture. If you wish, you can omit the brandy, in which case you can put the baking soda in the milk, which you then add to the mixture together with the vanilla. Mix well.
Now add a couple of tablespoonfuls of flour and a couple of tablespoonfuls of meringue to the mixture and mix lightly after each addition, until the flour and the meringue are finished. If you see that the batter is too stiff, you can add a little more milk.
Put the batter in a prepared pan, and place it in a preheated oven. Bake it for about 45 – 60 minutes at 180oC. The cake is done if a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean.
Let it cool for a little while and then sprinkle plenty of powdered sugar and decorate according to your taste.