Last Updated on
You are going to love this Easy 4 Ingredient Fruit Cake. I have seen similar recipes circulating for a number of years but I was sceptical that such a simple recipe could produce a worthwhile result. So, I finally plucked up some courage and baked this cake and I’m delighted that I did. Although this fruit cake recipe contains minimal ingredients, it has fabulous flavour and great texture. It is extremely moist and cuts beautifully. The method is simple and the results are surprising and delicious.
Baking a traditional fruit cake can be quite daunting and time-consuming, and the result, unfortunately, is sometimes a cake which is dry and disappointing. This recipe, however, makes a beautifully moist cake which is full of fruit. In fact, there’s more fruit than cake.
The cake will suit a large number of people with specific dietary requirements as it does not contain any added sugar, is nut-free and vegan. I have also chosen to use gluten-free flour for this recipe, but if you’re able to eat wheat flour, use regular self-raising flour.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have the time to make a fruit cake, this is the recipe for you.
It is, without a doubt, the easiest fruit cake you can make. Whilst the recipe is simple, it does require a little forward planning. To obtain the best result, soak the dried fruit 24 hours in advance. The fruit will absorb most of the liquid, becoming beautifully plump and moist. I have soaked my fruit in almond milk but I have seen recipes that use various fruit juices, cold tea or even iced coffee. The following day, after soaking the fruit, fold in the sifted flour and mixed spice. Turn the mixture into a greased and lined baking tin and bake in the oven for about 1 ½
You can use a commercial package of mixed dried fruit in this recipe, or you can customise a mixture to your own taste. You could add dried cranberries or blueberries, or, like me, juicy glace cherries. You may like to include dates, chopped finely, which will add a wonderful caramel sweetness.
Most similar recipes on the internet are for 3 ingredient fruit cakes. I like the addition of mixed spice, making it 4 ingredients, as the spice gives a more traditional “Christmassy” flavour.
I’m not sure of the origin of this recipe, but I did notice that a version of it is a CWA (Country Women’s Association) Blue Ribbon Prize Winning recipe. The cake may have originated during the Depression, when eggs, sugar and butter were difficult to obtain.
I will say that it is not an overly sweet cake so if you have a “sweet tooth” and no dietary restrictions you may prefer to use apple, cranberry or orange juice, or even apricot nectar.
So, if you feel you would like a fruit cake, but you just don’t have the time, I encourage you to try this recipe. You could even get the children involved, it is that simple. It is an ideal cake to serve with a cup of tea or coffee when family and friends visit over the festive season.
Adapted from a recipe by Annabel Langbein.
Easy Four Ingredient Fruit Cake
- 1 kg mixed dried fruit *
- 2 1/2 cups almond milk*
- 2 3/4 cups gluten-free self raising flour I used Orgran
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- optional: 1 tbsp rum, sherry or brandy brushed over
- optional: icing sugar to dust omit if wanting to leave as no added sugar
- Place the dried fruit in a bowl, add the almond milk and stir well.Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave the fruit to soak overnight in the fridge. (Ideally, soak for 24 hours)
- When ready to bake the cake, pre-heat the oven to 160oC/320oF.
- Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm/9” spring-form cake tin with baking paper.
- Remove the fruit from the fridge. If the bowl in which you soaked the fruit is not large enough to add the flour, transfer the fruit to a larger bowl.
Add the mixed spice to the flour and gradually sift it into the fruit mixture, mixing with a wooden or large metal spoon until well combined.Add the mixture to the prepared tin and smooth the top.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours.Check that the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. The skewer will come out clean when the cake is cooked. All ovens are different, so first check at 1 ¼ hours.Return to the oven for a little longer if necessary.Remove from the oven when cooked and brush with a little rum, sherry or brandy if using.
- Cool completely in the tin before turning out.Wrap well in cling wrap and then in foil. Or, store in an airtight container.Just before serving, dust with icing sugar if using.
*I used almond milk for this recipe but you can also use orange, apple, pineapple or cranberry juice. You could even try apricot nectar. I have also seen recipes that use cold tea or iced coffee.
*You can use regular wheat self-raising flour if you do not need to make a gluten-free cake.
* This cake is not overly sweet. If you would prefer a sweeter cake you may choose to soak the fruit in fruit juice.
*I brushed the top of the cake with brandy when it came out of the oven. It’s a nice touch but not absolutely necessary.