I always adore making and eating fruit cake, so creating this recipe was a joy. This cake has the texture of a classic Christmas cake – dense and complex in flavour, which is what you want for an exceptional and easy-to-digest Christmas cake. You do have the option to add a teaspoon of baking powder to make this cake lighter but it is not essential. This recipe is versatile so you can change the dried fruit mix (about 325–400g) to suit your taste. One combination I love is dried pear, hazelnut and ground cardamom.
The method is quite simple, just like making any traditional butter cake. The white sourdough starter is added at the end of the mixing before the addition of fruits and nuts. The long fermentation allows pre-digestion of gluten, fat and sugar. You can use wheat instead of spelt or kamut. Kamut is worth a try. It does not have the chromosomes that cause gluten allergies. However, please consult your medical practitioner for advice.
NOTE This cake is full of fruit, so the cake mixture will not double in size. If you prefer a more complex flavoured cake, you need to make this cake 1–2 months before Christmas.
This recipe is an extract from the ebook Wild Sourdough for the Thermomix by Yoke Mardewi, which can be purchased in EPUB or PDF here.
Prepare the fruit and liqueur mixture at least a day before you plan to make the
Christmas cake. You can also prepare the mixture a few weeks beforehand for
a stronger flavour. Mix the ingredients together and leave to marinate at least
overnight. The next day, drain the mixture, separating it into fruit and liquid.
The fruit will be added to the cake, while the liquid will be used to glaze it once
Put the flour and spice mixture ingredients in your TM bowl and mix for 10
seconds/speed 5. Put aside.
Beat soft butter, the two sugars and vanilla in TM bowl for 1½–2 minutes/
speed 3–4 until light and creamy. Scrape down sides frequently to make sure
the ingredients are well mixed.
With the machine running at speed 3, slowly add eggs one by one through hole
in mixing bowl lid. Stop mixing once the mixture looks curdled. Scrape sides of
Add sourdough starter and molasses and mix for 10–15 seconds/speed 2. Scrape sides of bowl.
Add pre-mixed flour and spice mixture to TM bowl and mix for 10–15 seconds/
speed 2–3. Do not over-mix or you will end up with a tough cake. Scrape sides
With the TM bowl lid and MC back in place, ferment your cake mixture for 4–6
hours. The cake mixture will rise about 1¼–1½ its original volume.
Prepare cake tins
Line cake tins with butter then line with silicone coated baking or parchment
paper (e.g. Gladbake). You have the option of using: 20cm diameter (8in) round cake tin – each holds 1kg of mixture; or 2 x 12.5cm (5in) round cake tin – each holds 500–550g of mixture; or 8–10 muffins – each holds 120–150g of mixture.
Add and mix
Add drained fruit to the TM bowl and mix for 10–20 seconds/speed 3/Reverse,
making sure the fruit is well distributed. If you have decided to use baking powder
to make the cake lighter, add the baking powder now. I prefer the cake without
the baking powder as I like my fruitcake dense. Pour into lined tin or tins. You
should only fill two-thirds of the tin or the cake mixture will overflow during
Put the cake inside a cold oven and set the temperature to 165°C (329°F).
Here are the baking times depending on the size of cake tin you used:
For 20cm (8in) tins - Bake on lower third rack for 45 minutes at initial temperature of 165°C (329°F). Then reduce heat to 150°C (302°F) and bake for a further 1½–2 hours until golden brown. If the cake top browns too quickly, cover it with aluminium foil.
For 12.5cm (5in) tins - Bake on lower third rack for 1 hour 15 minutes at initial temperature of 165°C (329°F).
For muffins - Bake on lower third rack for 40–45 minutes at initial temperature of 165°C (329°F). Remove cake from the oven and brush generously with the leftover liqueur. You can brush your cake with any liqueur of your choice (brandy, rum, whisky, Cointreau) every few days for a month before Christmas. This will make your cake so delicious and moist.
Leave to cool before cutting.
Best kept wrapped tightly in waxed paper and aluminium foil. Leave
in the coolest part of your house and it will keep for 1–2 months or
alternatively it can be frozen for up to 3 months.