Australian Christmas Cake

29
10
Joined Jun 29, 2004
Hello again from Hungary.
Christmas is approaching fast and, once again, I am having a problem in finding ingredients.
This time to make a traditional, rich, dark, English fruitcake for Christmas.
No raisins, no glace cherries, no currants etc available here, but they do have sultanas, nuts and other dried fruits like apricots etc.
No problem, I am always willing to change so lets do something different this year.
A friend gave me a recipe for an Australian boiled fruitcake that I think will be very good.
Recipe as follows:-

Australian Christmas Cake

400g sultanas
400g mixed dried fruits e.g apricots, dates, prunes etc. - chopped
225g brown sugar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp mixed spice
½ tsp nutmeg
125 g butter
1 small can crushed pineapple (including the juice)
100g sliced almonds
Place ingredients into a saucepan and bring gently to the boil. Simmer and stir for 4 minutes, remove from heat and cool.

2 eggs - beaten
227 g plain flour
2 level tsp baking powder

Add eggs flour and baking powder to cooled, boiled mixture and fold together well with a wooden spoon.

Line the base and the sides of a round cake tin (about 20 cm in diameter) with brown paper. Tie a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin to prevent burning. If top of cake browns too quickly place a sheet of brown paper over the top of the cake to prevent surface fruit from burning.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake at 180° C for about one hour or until a knife comes out clean. Leave it to settle in the tin for a few minutes then turn it onto a cake rack to cool, leaving lining paper in place. Cover with a clean tea-towel while cooling to prevent drying. When cold store in an airtight container. When ready to decorate, remove lining paper and decorate with butter icing or with a traditional Christmas icing.
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As well as making one for my own family, I would like to bake & decorate some for Christmas presents just to see how they are received instead of a traditional cake. If successful, I may use the recipe for some of the cakes I am commissioned to make.
Has anyone any experience of baking a cake such as this and if so how long will it keep and is its texture moist or dry? Or, perhaps someone has a better recipe than this one, using ingredients similar to the above, that they are willing to share.
All the best
Joyce
 
2
10
Joined Oct 24, 2004
I am new to this forum and just reading some older posts. Did you get a response to your questions?
I am wondering how long a cake with baking powder will keep? I think that might shorten the shelf life even if you keep it in the refrigerator. Have you tried that?
The cake sounds wonderful! I have a question for you...what is traditional Christmas icing to you? Would you share your recipe?

Ruth
www.northwoodskitchen.com
 
29
10
Joined Jun 29, 2004
Hi Ruth
No, I didn’t get any responses to my questions. Perhaps there aren’t any Australian chefs in this forum that have made this type of cake so no one knows the answer.
I have collected the ingredients together to make a trial cake so I will have a go and post the results.
Thanks for pointing out about the baking powder and the effect it may have on the shelf life.
But, when making a traditional English fruit cake, to a recipe using 2lb of what we call in England “plain flour” (I would say it was the equivalent of your general purpose flour) I always use ½lb self-raising flour (a flour developed for making the ‘Victoria sponge’ style of cake) and that has quite a high baking powder content.
I have looked at several recipes and they all use a proportion of self-raising flour but it is most likely down to the amount of brandy in the cake that keeps it for a long time.

Traditional Christmas icing is Royal Icing which can be made by hand but it is hard work as it needs a lot of beating so I am afraid I take the easy way out and use a mixer.

Ingredients
1 egg white (at room temperature)
12 oz Icing sugar (sieve twice through extra fine sieve)

Hand method
Lightly beat egg white to break it up. Stir in icing sugar a spoonful at a time, beating in each addition thoroughly. When all the sugar has been added beat until it is stiff enough to hold a peak.

Mixer method
Lightly beat egg white to break it up. Stir in the icing sugar then beat for about 10 minutes until it is stiff enough to hold a peak.

If you are going to use the finished icing to coat a cake, add ½ teaspoon of glycerine as this will make an icing that will not splinter when cut.
If you are going to use the icing to pipe with, omit the glycerine and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. If the lemon juice wets the icing too much add a little more icing sugar.

If you need any more information just ask.
Joyce
 
29
10
Joined Jun 29, 2004
Hello everyone,
Well, I baked the Australian Christmas cake on Friday and I was delighted with the result.
It is a moist cake packed with a variety of different fruits that have interesting textures and flavours. It is lighter in colour and not as heavy as a traditional English fruitcake. Considering the sugar, spice and alcohol content is similar to the traditional fruitcake, I have no reason to believe it will not keep well.
I am afraid that I will not be able to test the “keeping time” theory this time as I have been giving it to visitors to sample over the weekend and have had the most encouraging feedback. I have already promised six people one for Christmas.
I have slightly altered the recipe, from the one I posted at first, to one using the ingredients that are available to me and a few I thought should be added. However, as for the dried fruit, I think that as long as you use 1kg you can use whatever selection you prefer. The cooking time was not 1 hour but 2 – otherwise it is about the same.


Australian Christmas cake

Ingredients.
400g sultanas
100g prunes - chopped
100g dried apricots – chopped
100g dried pineapple – chopped
100g dried papaya (small cubes)
100g dried figs – chopped
100g dried dates – chopped
200g sliced almonds
225g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoonful baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoonful mixed spice
½ teaspoonful nutmeg
125 g butter
200g tinned pineapple – drained and chopped
method
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring gently to the boil. Simmer and stir for 4 minutes (be very careful not to burn the bottom), remove from heat and leave to get very cool.
ingredients
2 eggs - beaten
250g plain flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
1 wineglass pineapple or apple juice
1 wineglass brandy (cognac) or sherry
method
Add eggs, flour, baking powder, pineapple/apple juice and brandy/sherry to cooled, boiled mixture and fold together well with a wooden spoon.

Line the base and the sides of a round cake tin (about 20 cm (8”) diameter) with brown paper then tie a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin to prevent burning.
Put the mixture into the tin, making sure there are no air bubbles, cover with a sheet of brown paper and bake in the centre of the oven at 180° C* for about two hours or until a skewer comes out clean**. Leave it to settle in the tin for a few minutes then turn it onto a cake rack to cool, leaving lining paper in place. Cover with a clean tea towel while cooling to prevent drying. When cold store in an airtight container. When ready to decorate, remove lining paper and decorate with butter icing or with a traditional Christmas icing.

* I prefer to use the convection setting instead of the fan setting to cook cakes as I find it produces a more moist result.
** To test the cake insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and leave for the count of 20, remove the skewer and wipe on a paper towel, if it is clean the cake is done, if not put it back into the oven for 5 minute intervals, re-testing until it is done.
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Hope you enjoy it.

All the best
Joyce
 
52
10
Joined Dec 13, 2004
I have only just joined the Forum: so I hope that this is not out-of-date:

For Boiled Pineapple Fruitcake: "When cool, store in an airtight container for 1 week or refrigerate for up to 21 days or freeze for 3 months."
 
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