Spiced Fruit Loaf - unlive 20/02/2013

You know what it’s like – the kitchen filled with the aroma of a cake baking in the oven, a nip in the air outside and the evening drawing in. I would murder for a slice of the cake to go with a cup of tea in a little while! Trouble is, that’s the Christmas cake baking in there (and the Christmas pudding simmering on top as it happens), and there’s no way that cake is going to be touched till the big day – except to feed it a spot more rum at strategic moments. So I did the next best thing. Seeing that the larder still had a host of ingredients left over – mixed fruit, spices, muscavado sugar etc – I set about the quickest fruit cake ever, to stick in the other oven.It is made with self-raising flour and their mashed potato, and it turned out to be delicious, beautifully moist and fruity on the inside and crunchy on the outside. You could, of course, make your own mash for it and leave it to cool a bit, but then it wouldn’t be the quickest cake ever (though definitely still worth the effort).

Serves 6-8

Spiced Fruit Loaf - unlive 20/02/2013
 6 oz (175g) mashed potato (or 5 discs McCains Mash)
 6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
 1 level teaspoon mixed spice
 grated zest of ½ orange
 grated zest of ½ lemon
 4 oz (110g) light muscovado sugar
 4 oz (110g) mixed dried fruit
 ½ oz (10g) peeled almonds
 2 eggs, beaten
 2 oz (50g) butter (at room temperature)
For the topping:
 1 heaped teaspoon demerara sugar
 1/4 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

You will also need a 1 lb loaf tin, well buttered.


First place the potato in the goblet of a food processor (if you’re using McCains let it defrost first), then sift the flour in on top. Add the mixed spice, orange and lemon zests, muscavado sugar, almonds and butter (cut into small chunks). Finally add the beaten eggs, then whiz it all until the mixture has come together in a sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, then fold in the mixed fruit with a metal spoon.

Transfer it all to the buttered loaf tin, level out the top with a palette knife. Mix the demerara sugar with the cinnamon and scatter this mixture over the top. Place the tin in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for 60-70 minutes, until it is golden brown and the surface of the cake feels springy when pushed with a finger. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to get quite cold. Store in an airtight tin.

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