The fruit cake is a spiced cake containing nuts and dried fruit, usually a variety of cherries, apricots, pineapples and oranges. It is a popular holiday gift and, if containing alcohol, can be kept and stored for many years without spoiling.
History of Fruit Cake
The earliest recordings of fruit cake come from the ancient Egyptians who would bake these treats for the deceased. Due to its easily-preserved nature, they believed the fruit cake could withstand the journey into the afterlife.
Over the years, the fruit cake was passed on to Northern Europe by the Crusaders who returned from their Middle East journeys with dried fruit and nuts. The preserved fruit was considered rare and valuable and was saved for special occasions because it had been discovered in the Holy Land.
Even though fruit cake is a dessert, it has many health benefits, especially when baked using organic, low-fat ingredients with fruits high in antioxidants and vitamins. One slice has an average of only 150 calories, a small amount compared to many other desserts.
Fruit cakes usually contain nuts which are high in protein, iron and fiber. Cherries, which are high in vitamin C, iron, fiber, folic acid and magnesium, are also often used in fruit cakes. Many delicious recipes are available using cherries as the main ingredient.
Oranges are another often-used fruit for this dessert, as well as pineapples and raisins. Together, they can aid in boosting immune systems, preventing cardiovascular disease and promoting overall health.
Fruit Cake Cherries Recipe
8 oz margarine
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp All Spice
4 oz chopped mixed peel
4 oz cherries, halved
4 oz dried dates, chopped
2/3 cup cold tea
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Grease a square cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.
3. Stir margarine in a bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla extract while stirring well.
5. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and all spice.
6. Gradually fold the flour mixture and the peel. Add the cherries and dates into the mixture before adding the tea.
7. Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin, leveling the top and making a slight hollow in the centre of the cake.
8. Bake for about 2 hours or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
9. Leave to cool in the tin before removing the greaseproof paper.