This cake is sweet and tart with just a hint of spice. It has plenty of fruit but isn't a solid wodge of dried fruit like some cakes of the wedding/christmas cake variety.
Many of my recipes happen in a slightly random way, driven by things that need using up. Today I found I had seven small apples from a batch that hadn't been as crisp as expected, and were beginning to look a bit sorry for themselves, a large mandarin orange that had lost its gloss, and a husband that keeps wanting lunch early as there is no cake to go with his mid-morning coffee.
A large fruit cake seemed the obvious way to solve all of these problems. I had already cooked the apples, chopped but not peeled, in with the orange juice and zest, before I decided to make the cake. You wouldnt need to cook them first if you prefer the apple to stay in chunks in the finished cake.
Set oven at 170C fan
Grease and line two large cake tins. I used a long pullman loaf tin (the lid is handy if the top starts to get too brown) which has a capacity of 3.5l and an ordinary one pound loaf tin (750ml) to fit all the mixture in. I like to make a small cake for immediate eating and a larger one to mature, though having two different sizes means you have to keep an eye on how cooked they are as they will need different times.
500g cooked/chopped apples
juice and zest one small orange
500g dried blueberries
500g dried cranberries
300g soft brown sugar
250g soft butter (I keep mine in the freezer, so just zapped it on medium heat in the microwave - not so good for the precise temperatures needed for creaming, but fine for just mixing in)
5 tsp baking powder
4tsp mixed spice
The flour used in this was 300g of my current flour mix(1/3 each urid lentil, brown rice and buckwheat) and an extra 100g urid lentil flour. I ran out of flour and didn't want to make a fresh batch - so considering how much fruit there was in this cake just added extra urid as it will help hold it together. I am sure 400g of the standard mix would have been fine.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and spice together. Mix all the other ingredients together. Stir together. Put mix in greased lined tins and bake.
The smaller cake took an hour to cook. Test with a skewer or fine knife. I use a knife even though I get a bigger hole as I find it easier to see the cake residue. I turned the heat down to 150C and cooked the larger cake for a further half an hour.
Cool on a rack.
Good immediately; will keep well.