Is it a gingerbread house? Or a Christmas cake? Well, this is what happens when a mommy fruit cake and a daddy gingerbread house love each other VERY much. It’s such a fun way to decorate a fruit cake and even better, there is not a single piece of that horrid white fondant or persipan icing to be seen!
First up, the fruit cake. Great Aunt May strikes again with one of her famous recipes and this one is her ‘never-fail’ fruitcake. What I love most about it, is that it only has 5 ingredients, but let’s be honest, I had you at ‘never fail’ right?! Because it only has 5 ingredients, they have to be seriously good ingredients and trust me, you do not want to switch out the Natura Dark Muscovado Sugar for anything other than the real deal ‘cos it elevates the humble fruit cake to a point where I want to eat the entire thing. It adds such a gorgeous dark, rich, molasses flavour that you just can’t replicate.
The next part: the gingerbread houses. How cute are they? Like a little gingerbread village! You can go totally crazy with decorating them or even better, give the already-baked cookies to your kids, let them make their own houses using sweets and sprinkles and then just stick them around your cake! This cake is such a show-stopper that you could put it on the table as a decoration that is good enough to eat. And speaking of eating, for those of you worried about your waistlines this festive season, you needn’t worry about this cake, it has so much dried fruit in it, one slice is basically one of your five-a-day!
Never-Fail 5 Ingredient Fruit Cake
(Great Aunt May’s recipe)
Makes 1 x 24cm cake
3 cups (500g) mixed dried fruit
1 cup (175g) Natura Dark Muscovado Sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
Grease and double-line a 24cm-cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Placed dried fruit, sugar and 1 ½ cups water in a saucepan with the butter and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Allow to cool. Stir in the flour and egg and mix well.
Pour into a double-lined greased 24cm cake tin and bake for 1 ½ – 2 hours on the lowest oven shelf until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
VARIATIONS This is the fun part where you can tailor the recipe to suit whatever you fancy!
Spices and Flavourings: Mixed spice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove – add as much as you like (about 3 tsp in total should do it)
Nuts: Subsitute some of the dried fruit for hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans or walnuts
Fruit: Orange or lemon zest, chopped candied fruit or cherries – just make sure to remove a portion of the mixed dried fruit and replace it with the same amount.
Spiced Ginger Biscuit Houses
100g cake flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp whole milk
2 tbsp candied peel, finely chopped or Christmas fruit mince
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Mix together the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients and combine to form a dough (you can do this in a stand mixer using the dough or paddle attachment). Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/2 cm thick.
Cut out house shapes using a sharp knife then place on a baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before icing.
1 egg white, beaten
2 cups Natura Demerara Icing Sugar, sifted
squeeze of lemon juice
To make the royal icing, whisk the egg white gently then add the icing sugar until a stiff paste forms. Add the lemon juice and stir before placing in a piping bag.
Pipe the frosting onto the biscuits in patterns (you can make more colourful houses by using sweets and sprinkles) and allow to dry thoroughly. Then use spread the remaining royal icing around the outside of the cake and stick the houses in place. Dust with extra icing sugar to serve.
Disclaimer: This post has been created in collaboration with Natura Sugars who produce a range of really special sugars that are unrefined and made according to traditional Mauritian sugar-making techniques. The sugars are non-GM, non-irradiated and unbleached with no preservatives, colourants or syrups added which basically means they are pure, natural and packed with flavour! They’re available from Spar, Checkers and Pick ‘n Pay stores.
Disclaimer: This post has been created in collaboration with Natura Sugars – I only work with brands I think are awesome and that I actually use myself.