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Fruit Cake that isn’t Just for Christmas . . .

This is a flexible recipe that never seems to fail, whatever you choose to use; we offer some ideas in the ingredients list.

Grab your American-style measuring cup instead of your British scales for this recipe – or bone up on your conversion maths!

You don’t need a mixer, so give the Kitchen Aid the day off.

The cake can be kept in the fridge for up to a month, although it won’t last that long. It also freezes well.

Want to gild the lily? Cut yourself a thin slice and spread with cream cheese. Pour a glass of  dessert wine if you’re feeling particularly louche . . .

Ingredients

1 packed cup light or dark brown sugar

½-cup vegetable oil

2 Tblspns sherry (or rum) (or whisky). (All right, we admit it – we glug in a little more than just 2 tablespoons.)

2 eggs

1 tspn vanilla extract

1 cup light or dark raisins

1 cup mixed dried fruit

1 cup dried cranberries

(Note: If you prefer, use a mix of raisins and currents instead of the various fruits)

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

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1 ½ cups shredded apple (we usually only peel them partially)

2 tspn baking soda

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2 cups flour

½ tspn salt

½ tspn cinnamon

¼ tspn ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).

Butter and flour one loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients

In a smaller bowl, stir together the apple and baking soda. Add them to the large bowl.

In another bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Blend them into the large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Spoon into prepared pan, and bake for about an hour or 80 minutes . . . your know your oven better than we do, so it’s up to you really. Test with a toothpick (you want it to come out clean), or give it a pat to see how well it bounces back.

Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn out.

If you’re storing the cake, you might like to brush it with whichever alcoholic ingredient you opted for, while it is still warm.