Friday, April 05, 2019

OLD-FASHIONED FRUIT CAKE

Fruit cakes, as their name implies, are filled to the brim with delicious, often seasonal, fruit and spices, and are prepared in various different ways, depending on the country and tradition. For me, fruit cakes are usually baked around Lent time, as well as around Christmas, and must have raisins and cinnamon. Every other addition is more than welcome, but not mandatory.
Fruit cakes remind me of childhood, and despite many disliking them or cold-shouldering them as too plain, they remain a great comfort food for me. Especially when served with additional honey and chopped walnuts, like this one is.
This little cake is full of bananas, apples, raisins, and spices, and is unbelievably delicious after a good lunch. It is so very rich, and is amazing all on its own, without any butter or whipped cream; and so very soft and moist, and keeps incredibly well for days, making it a perfect holiday-time dessert. You can serve it with tea, coffee, or even caramel brandy if you are so inclined, it will be delicious either way.


Ingredients
150 grams ground toasted walnuts, divided
70 grams plain flour
30 grams semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 grams raisins
250 grams grated apples
150 grams ripe bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon dark rum
50 grams acacia honey
60 ml cold water
Acacia honey and toasted walnuts, for serving (optional)


Preparation
Measure out 100 grams of the ground walnuts, and add them to a large bowl. Sift in the plain flour, semolina, as well as baking powder and the cinnamon. Mix thoroughly and reserve. Take a small bowl, add in the raisins, cover them with hot water, and let them plump up.
Place the bananas into a large bowl, add in the vanilla, rum, and honey, and blend everything together using hand blender, or mash thoroughly with a fork. Add in the grated apples and drained raisins, and mix well with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Tip in the dry ingredients, and gently mix until they are blended, then pour in the water, and mix only until incorporated.
Take a small square cake pan (18x18 cm), ideally with a pop-up bottom, and line it with baking parchment. Pour in the batter, level it as much as possible, and cover it generously with the reserved ground walnuts. Bake immediately, in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F) for 30-35 minutes. Of course, check it with a toothpick, to make sure it is done, and there is no wet batter in the centre.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it, and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, slice it up, top with a drizzle of acacia honey, some more toasted walnuts, and serve. The cake keeps well at room temperature for up to 4 days. Yields 9 generous servings.

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