This fruit and nut cake really lives up to its name “Special Fruit and Nut Cake”. Packed with delicious pieces of candied pineapple, ginger, mixed peel, glacé cherries and apricots, along with chopped and whole nuts, this fruit cake tastes amazing. Topped with fruit and nut glazed in a sugar syrup it looks stunning too.
Most years I make a rich fruit cake for Christmas. When time permits I decorate it, here’s the one I made last year. Even though it always gets eaten despite the fact that neither of my boys particularly like rich fruit cake, I wanted to do something different this year.
After giving it some thought, I decided to make a lighter cake that’s just as tasty. I had some really yummy candied pineapple leftover from a previous job which I didn’t want it to go to waste which was the inspiration for this cake.
Adding some other soft dried and candied fruit and I had the start of a really scrummy cake. A generous quantity of nuts added to the mix and I had what I set out to achieve: a special fruit and nut cake good enough to replace my usual Christmas cake.
Hints Tips and Variations
- Line the cake tin
- I used candied pineapple which is readily available in specialist food shops on line. They are a little pricy but this is a cake for special occasions so I think it is worth pushing the boat out. If you can not get it you could substitute dried pineapple pieces instead.
- Try to buy whole candied peel and chop it yourself. The flavour and texture is far superior to the tubs of chopped mixed peel. Most larger supermarkets sell tubs of whole pieces of peel at this time of the year. Since it tends to be harder to find during the rest of the year, I stock up so I have enough to last me until next year.
- You can use chopped stem ginger in place of the candied ginger.
- I have used my stand mixer because of the larger quantity in this cake but a hand held electric whisk works just as well.
Step by Step Special Fruit and Nut Cake
Special Fruit and Nut cake
- 200 g candied pineapple cut into small chunks (7oz)
- 200 g no-soak dried apricots chopped (7oz)
- 100 g glacé cherries halved (3½oz)
- 100 g candied peel chopped (3½oz)
- 50 g glacé ginger chopped (2oz)
- 50 g pecan nuts coarsely chopped (2oz)
- 50 g brazil nuts coarsely chopped (2oz)
- 50 g pistachio nuts (2oz)
- 250 g light muscovado sugar (9oz/ 1 1/8 cups)
- 250 g butter softened (9oz)
- 4 eggs
- 280 g plain flour (10oz/2¼ cups)
- 80 g ground almonds (3oz/¾ cup)
- 100 ml tropical fruit or pineapple juice (4 floz/~½cup)
- 125 g golden caster sugar (4oz/⅔ cup)
- 1 tsp golden syrup
- 100 ml water (4 floz/~½cup)
- 4 –5 glacé pineapple rings
- 6 –8 no-soak dried apricots
- 6 –8 glacé cherries
- few strips of candied peel
- 6 –10 Brazil nuts
- 6 –10 pecan nuts
- a few pistachios
- Prepare the fruit and nuts as above. Preheat the oven to 150℃ /130℃ fan/ gas mark 2. Grease and line a 20cm deep round cake tin.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
- Fold in the flour, ground almonds and fruit juice. Then Finally fold in the fruit and nut.
- Pile the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours until golden and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, place the caster sugar, syrup and water in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and continue to boil for a few minutes until syrupy.
- Remove from the heat and add the fruit for decorating. Leave to soak while the cake cooks and cools.
- When the cake is cooked, allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cake has cooled, brush the top of the cake with some of the syrup and arrange the fruit on top of the cake.