Spring cleaning (or any sort of cleaning for that matter) is something I know I should do more often but rarely can muster any enthusiasm for it. It’s usually something that gets done when ‘needs must’ i.e. when I can no longer find anything in the ‘organised’ chaos I work in. At various times during the year my larder reaches the point where there is no room for an anchovy fillet let alone a sardine and the contents have to be reassessed. This is when I discover half full jars of chutney’s and the like that are bordering on antique so far are they from their use by date. There is also invariably an array of dried fruit which is begging to be used before it reaches a state of permanent mummification. This recipe is perfect for just that. It’s adapted from a recipe my mother has been making for years. Don’t be put off by the title. It’s actually very light and not in the least bit stodgy (despite what the name may imply). It’s incredibly quick and easy to make and great for recharging the batteries after a bout of spring cleaning.
Makes 1 23cm square cake (about 8 – 10 generous slices)
- 240g dried fruit (any will do but chop larger fruit like figs, dates, apricots and prunes into smaller pieces)
- 140g light brown sugar
- 70g runny honey
- 230ml milk
- 110g unsalted butter
- zest of an orange (unless you are using mixed fruit that already contains peel)
- 225g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- A little caster or Demerara sugar for decoration (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160℃. Grease and line a 23cm square brownie tin or a 20cm round cake tin.
- Put the fruit, sugar, honey, milk, butter and orange zest (if using) into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into the boiled fruit mixture. Mix together thoroughly then add the ground almonds followed by the eggs.
- Spoon into the prepared tine and bake for 30-35 minutes (possibly a bit longer if using a 20cm round tin) or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool for a while in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with caster or Demerara sugar before serving.