“Cup-of-Tea Fruit Loaf
This is a family name given to this moist and densely fruited loaf, one of which always seemed to be in the cake tin when visitors dropped in for a cup of tea. In addition to dried vine fruits, sultanas, raisins and currants, other dried fruits including figs, apple, pear or apricot add to the lusciousness. The fruit plumps in cold black tea. Use whichever tea you prefer but Lapsang Souchong gives it an intriguingly divine slightly smoky flavour.
Start to finish : 1 1/4 hours serves : 18
125 g (41/2 oz) butter
1 cup (250 ml/9 fl oz) strong black tea
2 cups (370 g/13 oz) mixed chopped dried fruit
2 cups (300 g/101/2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ginger and allspice
1 cup (220 g/73/4 oz) white granulated sugar
1 large free-range egg, whisked
Put the butter, tea and dried fruit in a pan over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to the boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F) (fan-forced 155°C/310°F). Grease and line a loaf pan about 23 x 12 cm (9 x 41/2 in) with two layers of baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices together into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, fruit mixture and the egg. Mix well and fill into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes on a rack before turning out. Let it cool completely before wrapping and storing.
and a bit more :
The loaf can be sliced when cold but the flavour vastly improves if you resist eating it for a day or two. The men on the farm slathered butter on the slices. I think it is rich enough on its own. Mum put a small container of water in the oven which she claimed kept the cake moist and gave it a lovely golden crust.”
My Version – with chopped almonds was just as delicious.