I was so pleased to receive several new cookbooks for Christmas, including a long wished for copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’m enjoying reading that book and planning just what I want to tackle from its huge volume of recipes. But the cookbook I’m really enjoying the most is one called The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook. It has completely captivated me with its fantastic recipes and incredibly beautiful photography of the Irish countryside. I’ve read all the way through it three times already. I want to start at the front cover and make every single recipe in it. And I think I just might do that.
The very first recipe I chose to try from this lovely cookbook is this Irish Spiced Fruitcake. We love our traditional holiday fruitcakes but I know that many people don’t care for the candied fruit in those. If you’re one of them, you really should try this cake instead. No candied fruit in sight. Just lovely dried cherries, raisins and currants. And the spices are heavenly. A lovely combination of allspice and ginger give just the right flavor along with the dried fruit.
I did a little research on this cake since I’d never seen a method quite like this one. What I found was that this traditional recipe is also called an “Irish Boiled Fruitcake.” You’ll see why that makes perfect sense when you read the recipe which, by the way, is ridiculously easy. I also found that this is typically served for an afternoon snack or tea.
Before you start, prepare a deep 8″ cake pan or 8″ square pan by greasing it with butter. Cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Place the wax paper in the bottom of the pan and then grease the wax paper as well. Set that aside.
Next measure all your ingredients except the flour and eggs into a saucepan. Bring that to a boil while stirring constantly. Lower the temperature and let it simmer for 5 more minutes giving it a stir every once in a while.
Remove the boiled mixture from the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes or until it has cooled. It will thicken a little while it cools. While the boiled mixture cools, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the mixture has cooled, stir in the flour and eggs. Stir thoroughly to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 and continue cooking until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
A note about the cooking time: The original recipe (along with others I’ve seen on the internet) says to cook at 350 for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 and continue cooking for 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. I’ve made this cake twice and both times my cake was done after the first 30 minutes. I can’t imagine how burned it would be if I continued to cook for another hour! However, I realize that baking times vary from oven to oven and also based on the material of the pan you’re using. My recommendation is to check the cake after 30 minutes and if it’s not done, reduce the heat to 325 and continue to cook checking every 10 to 15 minutes.
When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
I served this cake with black cherry yogurt alongside. It was a delicious combination.
- 1/2 cup dark raisins
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup currants
- (note: use any mixture of the above to equal 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup turbinado or other raw sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup milk
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Put all ingredients except flour and eggs into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat while stirring continuously. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a deep 8” cake pan with butter. Line the pan with wax paper and grease the wax paper as well.
- Stir the flour and eggs into the cooled fruit, spice, and nut mixture. Make sure the ingredients are well combined and no dry flour is visible in the mixture.
- Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Test the cake by inserting a skewer or toothpick in the center. If the tester does not come out clean, lower the oven temperature to 325 and continue baking until and testing every 10 minutes. The additional baking time will vary greatly depending on your oven and the cake pan used. Watch carefully as the cake can burn easily.
- Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
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Other fruitcake recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Irish Boiled Fruitcake from The English Kitchen
- Ranchman Cake (Irish Boiled Fruitcake) from Mummy’s London Kitchen
- Drunken Fruitcake from Eclectic Recipes
- Fruitcake Bars from Weelicious
- Traditional Fruitcake from Savour Fare
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes
- Two years ago: Baked Catfish
- Three years ago: Lime Cupcakes