The tradition of making a dense rich cake filled with spices, candied fruits and nuts first began in England. Fruit cakes were first made in the 15th century, when exotic spices, nuts and fruits were first introduced to the English by the traders. These cakes were so rich that they were banned during the 18th century across most of Europe. A law was passed which stated that fruit cakes could only be baked on certain festivals and special occasions; Christmas being one of them. They were thought to be too decadent for daily consumption. Since then the tradition remains, and people world over indulge in fruit cakes on Christmas Day.
Try out a Christmas cake with a difference; one that’s bursting with dried fruits in rainbow colours! Our shelves boast a range of dried fruits that go far beyond just raisins and fruit peel. Dried Turkish Apricots, Gourmet Dates, Cranberries, Red Raisins, Blueberries, Pineapple, Papaya and Prunes are all naturally sweet and incredibly colourful and offer a world of new flavours to add to Christmas Cakes and Bakes. Rushina has the ideal recipe for all this exotica with the Natures Basket Signature Fruit and Nut loaf. We guarantee, you will LOVE it!
Nature’s Basket Signature Dried Fruit and Nut Loaf
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 cups coarsely chopped mixed nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, or pine nuts , walnuts, almonds)
- 3 cups dried fruit (dried cherries, cranberries, dates, blueberries figs, dried pineapple, Apricots) chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 1 vanilla bean, chopped fine
Time & Portion Size: Time 2 hours Serves 6-8
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place the rack in the centre of the oven. Butter or spray with oil spray, a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 12 cm) (8 cup) loaf pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, walnuts and dried fruits. Use your fingers to make sure that all the fruits and nuts have been coated with the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat (with a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer) the eggs and vanilla until light coloured and thick (this will take several minutes). Add the egg mixture to the fruit and nut mixture and mix until all the fruit and nut pieces are coated with the batter. Spread into the prepared pan, pressing to even it out.
Bake for about 60 to 75 minutes or until the batter is golden brown and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. (If you find the loaf over browning, cover with aluminium foil.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, lift the loaf from the pan. Cut into small slices with a sharp knife. To store, cover with plastic wrap or aluminium foil. This loaf is best after being stored for a couple of days. It can be kept for about 2 weeks at room temperature or for a couple of months in the refrigerator.