After a baking disaster on the weekend I needed something failsafe and simple to make as an emergency Plan B for my Grandad's birthday. His favourite is fruit cake, nothing too sweet and something that will last through the week to squirrel away chunks when he thinks my Grandmother isn't watching.
Pre-secondary school he'd take me to an after school tutor and always bring an apple for the car journey. So this year, in honour of our apple tradition, I'd originally decided to make an apple and cinnamon cake from Mary Berry's Baking Bible. With some gentle spice and currants I thought it would be a winner.
Trust your gut people.
I thought the recipe sounded a little daft as I was working through it. With hindsight I'd have actually read the method before getting all the ingredients out and starting. The recipe asked to sandwich a big pocket of slushy, grated apple between layers of the cake batter instead of folding into the mix. Within the first 20 minutes of its hour in the oven I could already smell it burning so had to stealthily make a tin foil hat for it.
Once cooled, I crossed my fingers and went for the upturn. The first part smashed out onto the plate followed by raw apple stodge and the rest of the cake stuck to the bottom of the tin.
With burnt sides and a raw centre, it was completely inedible. The Baking Gods have reaffirmed to me that they are in control and that like my mother says, trust your gut and read the method first!
Here's when an old favourite bundt fruit cake recipe comes into play, with a little twist. I swapped the regular tea for the same amount of London Pride Ale and upped the spices. Grandad's love ale! And you know what? It turned out of the bundt beautifully! Sorry Mary.
L O N D O N P R I D E F R U I T B U N D T
(makes 1 bundt cake or 2 loaves)
370g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2tsp ground cinnamon
260g soft light brown sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
480ml London Pride
80g chopped pecans
130g dried fruit (dates, cherries or currants)
- Heat the oven to 170 degrees and thoroughly grease a bundt tin.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add each egg one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Continue to mix whilst alternating between spoons of the flour mix and London Pride until everything is just combined. Fold in the fruit.
- Pour into the prepared bundt tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes - 1 hour. The top will be golden and a skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before upturning onto a wire rack to fully cool.
Once cooled, this cake will last up to 5 days in an airtight container.