As a special gift to you, LUST’s patron chef (and baker extraordinaire), Jean-Pierre Smith is sharing his signature traditional fruitcake recipe! Make it once, and we promise it will make an annual appearance on your Christmas table. Your family and friends will love this brandy-loaded cake filled with both classic and luxurious ingredients.
67g dates, pitted
67g prunes, pitted
34g orange preserve
84g red glazed cherries
210 ml water
67g dried figs
67g dried pears
5g bicarbonate of soda
80 ml brandy
25 ml of the brandy.
208g cake flour
2g mixed spice
5g baking powder
84g cashews, roughly chopped
23 ml orange liqueur
1. Line the bottom and sides of a 16 cm round baking tin with baking paper. Then line the outside bottom and sides with 7 layers of newspaper to regulate the heat throughout the baking process so that the cake bakes evenly).
2. Roughly chop the dates, prunes, orange preserve and cherries, and set aside.
3. In a 5L stock pot over medium heat, combine the water, sugar, butter, raisins, cranberries, sultanas, figs and currants. Cover with the lid and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Add the chopped dates and dried pears, cover and allow to simmer for 6 minutes.
5. Add the chopped cherries, orange preserve and prunes, cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Switch off the heat and stir through the bicarb and 25 ml of the brandy. Allow to cool to room temperature.
7. Preheat oven to 170°C.
8. Once your mixture has reached room temperature, mix in the eggs.
9. Fold through the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and baking powder.
10. Scoop the mixture into your prepared baking tin and level out the cake mixture on top with a wet spoon. Make a little well in the middle so that your cake rises evenly.
11. Loosely cover in foil so that it resembles a little cap.
12. Bake on the middle shelf for 20 minutes.
13. Lower your oven temperature to 140°C and bake for a further 2½ hours.
14. Remove the foil cap and bake for further 20 minutes.
15. Check that your cake is cooked through by inserting a skewer. If it isn’t, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
16. Combine the remaining brandy and orange liqueur.
17. Keeping the cake in its tin, place it on a wire rack and pour over the brandy and orange mixture.
18. Let the cake cool completely before turning it out of the tin and letting it rest upside-down for an hour.
19. Pop it into an air-tight container and store it in a cool, dry place. Dose it twice a week with more brandy and orange liqueur until you serve it on Christmas, by which time, in the words of chef Jean-Pierre, ‘it should be as drunk as Santa’.
And if you aren’t feeling up to the task, you can place your order now for your own 1.5 kg round naked cake, each one meticulously ripened for a minimum of eight weeks with a regular dousing of premium brandy for only R260! Limited goodness available so be sure to get there first if you aren’t making your own.