Saturday, 24 November 2007

Random fruit loaf

One of my ways to deal with stress is to bake. I get these urges and I just can't resist the temptation to make biscuits, or bread or whatever I can create from the contents of my pantry. Well, I have been having a rather full-on week this week, so when I got home from work last night it was time to raid the shelves and invent!

I had a big box of mixed dried fruit and chocolate bits that I had put together for a road trip but which had not been finished, so that was to be ingredient number one. I still have too many eggs, so that's ingredient number two. The final dish... obviously, fruit loaf!

There are of course, different types of fruit loaf - you can make a form of bread with yeast, or a light cake batter, or a heavy dense loaf (eg date and walnut loaf). While there was definite appeal to the idea of taking out some of my frustrations on a yeast dough, I decided to go the faster lighter option. The result of my experiment was a light moist cake with continuous taste surprises as you encounter cranberries, apricots, sultanas (aka raisins), currants, slivers of coconut and morsels of chocolate.

Don't you love the jewel-colours in this freshly sliced cake?

Random fruit and nut loaf - original recipe by Kiriel
  • 175g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups dried fruit & nuts* (You can use any proportion of dried fruits or nuts that you like)

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Stir in the milk and vanilla.

In large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in all the fruit and nuts. Make a large well in the flour, and pour in the liquid. Fold together gently (rather like muffins, this mix is not to be perfectly combines) and pour into a greased medium sized inch loaf tin (8 cups in volume).

Bake for an hour and a half (check with a skewer at an hour 15). Allow to stand in the tin until the tin is cool enough to be handled, then tip out of the pan. Allow to cool and wrap in a tea-towel to keep fresh. Because the amount of fruit in the recipe, I advise leaving the pieces in place as you slice, so that the previous slice of cake supports the next.

Fresh out of the oven - I wish I could do scratch and sniff photos, as this smells fantastic!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That loaf looks gorgeous! Wow, what an awesome mixture of fruits!



Cynthia said...

This would be perfect with a big cup of tea! Wish I could have a slice with you and just catch up :)