Fruit cake … with plums

I have a thing for apricots. Dried. Every week I buy a bagful from fruit-n-nut-man at the market. They’re not those dry, inedible nuggets you get in sealed plastic at Woolies. These are large, moist, succulent. I love them.

A few weeks back I arrived at the stall to collect my stash. Fruit-n-nut-man smiled, looking suspiciously pleased with himself. He slid his hand under the counter and pulled out a brown paper bag, plump and sealed with sticky tape. “Try these,” he said with a wink, “you’ll thank me.”

Nervously unwrapping my package at home, I discovered a generous mound of dried plums. Beautiful to behold, deep red and as large as my apricots, they were divine. Though eating any more than one at a time, I soon discovered, had consequences. What to do?

In the middle of short-sharp-COVID-lockdown #3, I craved an afternoon diversion of tea and cake. Ferreting around in the pantry for inspiration, I came across my brown paper bag. Inspired, I concocted a basic little fruit cake with sultanas, cherries and plums. The result: delicious. A cake as moist as it is sweet, it proved the perfect accompaniment to a pot of chai.

You should try it.

Here’s what you need

150 grams dried plumbs, cutting each plumb into four or five pieces
125 grams butter
300 grams sultanas
100 grams brown sugar
2 tablespoons marmalade
60 mils brandy
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour
150 grams glacé cherries, halved
2 eggs lightly whisked

Here’s what you do

  • Place the plums in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them stand for 30 minutes or so.
  • Combine the butter, sultanas, sugar, marmalade and brandy in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir together until the butter melts. Set aside to cool.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 150C.
  • Line a small non-stick loaf tin (10cm by 20cm) with a couple of sheets of baking paper.
  • Sift the flours together.
  • Drain the plumbs and add to sultana mixture with the cherries.
  • Fold in the flour, half at a time.
  • Add the eggs and combine well, though no need to over mix.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and place in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the cake is nicely browned and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Left the cake cool, remove from the tin and, using a sharp bread knife, slice off several generous portions. Serve with a pot of tea.

As fruit-n-nut-man said, you’ll thank me!

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