Cranberry and Apricot Fruit Cake

And so we've finally arrived at the dreaded 'Fruit Section' of Mary Berry's Baking Bible. Why dreaded? Well, I don't really see myself as a big lover of fruit cakes and I've never made one, so I've tended to view ploughing through this part of the book with some trepidation, fearing weeks and weeks of expensive cakes that basically taste the same.

So I'll say it up front - this cake was delicious! I mean, I didn't just tolerate it, I really, really enjoyed it, and it went down very well on the two occasions I served it up to other people. Mary Berry promised that, like all fruit cakes (apparently) it improves with age. Well, we didn't let it get particularly old at all, but I can attest to the fact that on the first day it was tasty but very crumbly, on the second day less crumbly, and by third day, it was slicing perfectly and tasting divine.  And on the fourth day it was all gone!

It was, by my standards, an expensive cake though.  And a huge one. In fact the fruits alone were far too heavy for OB to make any impact on with his wooden spoon (he resorted to flicking the top layer all over the kitchen), and the whole mix wouldn't fit into my largest tin so I had to make an overspill cake - shame! The recipe called for 12oz of dried apricots as well as cranberries, pineapple and raisins and I think I could have halved the recipe and still made a decent-sized cake. I was particularly nervous as I really, really hate dried apricots and I'm by no means a fan of pineapple either, but in the end, the individual textures and flavours blended together so that there were no unpleasant apricot-filled moments for me to endure.

Our overspill cake :-)

My only difficulty with it all, as usual, was actually getting the bake right. I don't know whether it's because of my oven or what, but I find it extremely difficult to know when any cake is done, and about the only thing I know for sure is that if the top looks absolutely perfect, then the sides and bottom are going to be a tiny bit burnt. This time was no exception. Beautiful golden-brown top, sides just pulling away from the parchment, skewer (well, butter knife!) coming out clean, fruit at the edges ever-so-slightly singed.

Despite this though, it is with optimism that I consider moving onto the rest of the fruit section. I'm sure that the revolting glace cherry will feature somewhere, but I will endure it! And anyway, I've had a peek at some of the recipes later in the book (many of which I have previously seen massacred by contestants on GBBO) and I've decided that the fruit cake section will be a breeze in comparison!


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