Moist and Moreish Fruit Cake

  • 160g raisins
  • 360g sultanas
  • 350g pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 80g blanched almonds
  • 100g walnuts
  • 250g pitted prunes
  • 150g glacé cherries, halved
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp ground nutmeg
  • 250 ml brandy
  • 300g butter, softened and cut into blocks
  • 220g brown sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 335g cake flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Garnish:
20g of glace cherries and 6–8 blanched almonds.

Place the raisins, sultanas, dates, almonds (both kinds), walnuts, prunes, cherries, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Pour over the brandy, mix in well and allow to stand overnight.
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Cream together the butter and sugar for about 10 minutes, then gradually add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the fruit mixture and mix well, ensuring that all the fruit is well coated. Add the creamed butter and egg mixture and fold in well. Spoon into a 22cm cake tin that has been well greased and lined with baking paper. Remember to arrange your cherries and almonds for the garnish at the bottom of the baking tin before adding your cake mix. Bake for 3 hours or until the cake is cooked. Test with a skewer. Keep an eye on the cake, taking care not to let it burn.
While the cake is still warm and in its mould, pour over the Rooibos and Brandy syrup. Do not attempt to remove the Xmas cake from the tin until it has completely cooled.

Rooibos & Brandy Syrup

  • ½ cup of well-steeped rooibos tea
  • ½ cup of brandy
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 1 cup of castor sugar

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced and thickened (approx. 15–20 minutes).

Boschendal 1685 Brut MCC complements this dish.

To shop from a selection of South Africa’s best wines, go to wineofthemonth.co.za

Recipes by Diane Heierli • Photography C&D Heierli