I have owned my copy of Jill Dupleix’s Old Food for quite some time now. Many other cookbook purchases later, I still find myself returning to her book for recipes like sticky toffee pudding, chocolate chip cookies and a fine Irish boil-and-bake fruit cake that even B’s mum approves of.
After spending this afternoon doing some essential grocery shopping, all I wanted was a cup of vanilla tea and a slice of said cake. It’s a wonderful caramel coloured cake that is light in texture, moist and filled with plump dried fruit. I especially like the crusty, chewy, bloated currants embedded in the top of the cake. When using this recipe, up the cinnamon, allspice and ground ginger quotient, if like me, you’re also a spice fiend. And as you proceed to cut a generous portion for yourself, it doesn’t hurt to keep Jill’s afternoon tea philosophy in mind :
“But it’s the cake that is the heart and soul of afternoon tea, the architectural monument that bonds people, pulling them to the table and to the tea pot. Please avoid the use of all words such as wicked, naughty and sinful when thinking about, cooking, serving and eating cake. They are completely irrelevant. The correct words are well deserved, essential and invaluable.”
Jill Dupleix’s Boil and bake fruit cake :
180 soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup water
2 eggs, well beaten
150g plain flour
150g self-raising flour
Heat oven to 180’C.
Combine butter, sultanas, currants, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, bicarbonate of soda and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring, then cool.
Add eggs and beat well. Sift the 2 flours together, add to the mixture and beat well. Pour into a lightly buttered cake tin of 22cm diameter. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from tin. Store in an airtight container.