Phil Gyford


Wednesday 21 May 2003

PreviousIndexNext Auntie Phyl's fruit cake

When out of work one of the many things to do is bake cakes. This week I’ve tried my great auntie Phyl’s fruit cake recipe for the first time and it went down well at our first redundancy tea and cakes morning.

This makes two cakes in rectangular bread tins.

  • 8oz/225g margarine [I used butter]
  • 8oz/225g “moist” brown sugar [I used unrefined molasses cane sugar]
  • 6 eggs
  • 4oz/115g ground almonds
  • 2 or 3 drops almond essence [I assume almond extract is the same]
  • 1 tablespoon marmalade
  • 12oz/340g flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1lb/450g currants
  • 1lb/450g sultanas

Cream the margarine/butter and sugar together. Add the ingredients in the order listed above, stirring the mixture between each (but mix the baking powder into the flour before adding them both). If it gets too stiff add a little milk.

Divide the mixture between two bread tins. Bake at 350F/175C for 30 minutes, then turn down to 275F/135C for a further two hours (actually, I stopped after 90 minutes and it was fine). I let mine cool in their tins, rather than turn them out onto a rack and they seemed more than fine. The recipe was written out by my grandma who (I assume) added this comment:

This cake is unusual because rich fruit cakes do not usually have baking powder in them — probably this is why it is started off in moderately hot oven — to let raising agent do its work.

UPDATE, 30 October 2017: I made it again for the first time in ages, and added a couple of extra notes above. Here’s the first of the two cakes


'Almond essence' could be a less authentic substitute for 'almond extract'? It may be possible to produce an almondy tasting 'essence' without any actual almonds, but impossible to make an 'almond extract' without at least a few almonds.

Posted by Tim on 21 May 2003, 10:25 pm | Link

Well my local Tesco had two varieties that were both made by the same company and were, I think, both called 'almond essence." I bought the more expensive, whose ingredients are "groundnut oil, extract of almond." I don't think the cheaper one contained actual almond, just chemicals.

Posted by Phil Gyford on 21 May 2003, 11:18 pm | Link

I have several cookbooks intended for both British and American use (i.e., they give British measurements and names of ingredients alongside American ones), and these seem to suggest that "essence" is the British term for "extract." Obviously, this isn't universally recognised, though.

Posted by Laura Brown on 25 May 2003, 10:45 pm | Link

hi im wanting to bake a fruit floaf 2 take on hoilday with my family but i never can work out the converson table with the mesurements.
would be able to convert measurements back into the way of cups and spoons 4 me
thank you

Posted by annabelle on 20 December 2005, 11:12 pm | Link

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