Friends Joan and Jeff visited for a Covid-secure tea and came laden with their allotment produce including an enormous potato weighing in at over 750g – that would feed a family of four. They’d brought peas that can be planted now and will grow over winter and tiny self-seeded rainbow chard plants that can go into the pots vacated by summer’s tomatoes. Most intriguing were the coconut sugar and flour they’d found in a local supermarket – definitely worth trying in my next baking session.
Creating something interesting and delicious to entertain them hadn’t taken long. A few minutes preparation the night before and just minutes in the morning produced these very simple little fruit cakes that came out perfectly: soft and spicy, rich with fruit and not too sweet. Just one left at the end of their visit!
A generous handful each of:
Dates, cut in half
Dried apricot, chopped
250g each of:
Soft brown sugar
2 heaped teaspoons mixed spices.
Put all the fruit except the cherries into a bowl, cover with water and then drain off virtually all the water. Microwave on low/medium power for a few minutes until the fruit is warm. Allow to cool.
Whizz the butter and sugar together in a food processor until soft and fluffy.
Whizz in the eggs one at a time, with a little of the flour.
Pulse in the remaining flour and spices.
Pulse in the fruit and cherries – you might need to fold in by hand.
Place dollops of the mix in to muffin or cupcake paper containers.
Cook at Gas 1 for 45 minutes.
I warmed the fruit, put the butter and sugar in the food processor bowl, weighed out the flour and spices, got out the eggs the night before so everything was at room temperature.
It only took about 15 minutes to create the mix and put the 12 cupcake containers into the individual holes of a metal tray to support them while cooking.
The mix made 12 small cakes and another larger one (cooked for an extra 30 minutes, for later in the week).
This would make a good alternative last-minute Christmas cake.