You are going to love this Easy Four Ingredient Fruit Cake. The festive season is a busy time and this cake is great as it can be easily made at the last moment.
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.
Similar recipes on the internet generally contain three ingredients. However, I have added an extra ingredient. I like the addition of mixed spice. To me, the addition of the spice gives the cake a more “Christmassy” feel.
Although this fruit cake recipe contains minimal ingredients, it has fabulous flavour and great texture. It is extremely moist and cuts beautifully.
The method to make this cake is simple, but the results are surprising and delicious. It does, however, require a little advance planning as the mixed dried fruit needs to be prepared the day before baking.
Whilst I love a traditional rich, dark, dense fruit cake, this is not to everyone’s taste. Many people prefer the lighter flavour and texture of this easy recipe.
It does not have the rich, dense texture of the more traditional cakes which contain generous quantities of brown sugar, butter and eggs. The texture is moist and the flavours are lighter.
Besides, 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.
The inspiration for this recipe:
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.
Why we like this Easy Four Ingredient Fruit Cake:
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 and can be prepared quickly at the very last minute.
When catering for a large number of people, it can be difficult to accommodate various dietary requirements. However, this easy cake makes it very simple to plan a menu.
This cake will suit a large number of people with specific dietary requirements as it does not contain any added sugar, fat, is nut-free and vegan.
In addition, I have also chosen to use gluten-free flour for this recipe, making it ideal for coeliacs or those with gluten intolerance. However, if you’re able to eat wheat flour, you can substitute regular self-raising flour.
I use Ingredients in the Easy Four Ingredient Fruit Cake:
- Mixed Dried Fruit
- Almond Milk
- Gluten-Free Self-Raising Flour
- Mixed Spice
Mixed Dried Fruit:
I used a good quality, commercially prepared mixture of dried fruit. It contained raisins, sultanas (golden raisins), currants, mixed candied peel and glace cherries.
Mixed dried fruit is available, packaged, from major supermarkets. However, you may prefer to make a combination of dried fruits which best suit your taste.
I used almond milk for this recipe. However, you could use soy milk if you prefer or use cows’ milk if dairy is not a problem. I have also seen recipes which contain commercial iced coffee.
This cake is not overly sweet so if you have a “sweet tooth”, and you don’t have any dietary restrictions, you may choose to soak the fruit in fruit juice.
You could use orange, apple, pineapple or cranberry juice. You could even try apricot nectar. If you like to include some alcohol in your fruit cake, simply add some to the dried fruit mix along with your chosen liquid.
Gluten-Free Self Raising Flour:
I have used a commercially prepared gluten-free flour. Use the flour blend of your preference.
You can use regular wheat self-raising flour if you do not need to make a gluten-free cake.
Mixed spice, sometimes called pudding spice, is a blend of sweet spices. It adds fragrant warmth to cakes, puddings and biscuits. It will generally contain finely ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.
It is very similar to the pumpkin pie spice mix which is popular in the United States.
This is how I make the Easy Four Ingredient Fruit Cake:
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.
To keep the sugar content low, I have soaked my fruit in almond milk. However, 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 hours.
I brushed 1 tablespoon of brandy onto the top of the cake after removing it from the oven, but this is optional.
Tips for success with this Fruit Cake:
A little forward planning is required; ideally, the mixed dried fruit should be soaked in the liquid of your choice for 24 hours or a minimum of 12 hours. This will ensure that the fruit becomes plump and moist, making for a better textured cake.
With so few ingredients it is important to use the best quality. Do not opt for the budget blend of mixed dried fruit; it may contain artificial cherries and excessively dry fruit.
Alternatively, you could customise a mixture to your own taste; you could include dried cranberries or blueberries. The addition of dates would add a wonderful caramel sweetness.
For the best flavour, ensure that the spice mixture you use is fresh. Over time, spice mixtures lose their flavour and potency.
When baking the cake, if you find that it is browning too quickly, place a sheet of foil loosely over the top of the cake.
Can you freeze the Fruit Cake?
You can freeze the cake, just ensure that the cake has completely cooled before wrapping it. Wrap it well first in cling wrap and then firmly in a double layer of foil.
If you have an airtight freezer container which will hold the cake, I suggest that you also place the wrapped cake in that. Moisture is the enemy when freezing.
For the best result, I suggest that you do not freeze for longer than one month.
Because the cake is so easily made and it does not contain any added sugar or fat to keep it moist, I recommend that you do not make it far in advance of serving.
For the best result, I would make it no more than a day or two in advance. Ensure that it is completely cold before first wrapping it in cling wrap and then wrap thoroughly in foil.
It should be stored in a cool, dark place.
When it comes to serving:
If the cake has been frozen, first defrost it in the refrigerator and then bring it to room temperature.
The cake can be iced or frosted and decorated as you wish.
Alternatively, to fancy it up a little, you could glaze the top of the cake with some apricot jam, heated with a little water or brandy. Push the jam glaze through a fine sieve and brush the cake. Decorate with a colourful assortment of glace fruit and nuts. Brush again with a little glaze to make the fruits glisten.
However, if you opt for a simpler solution, which I have done, dust it with icing/confectioners’ sugar. Use a paper doily or appropriate stencils to creative attractive patterns.
Serve the cake at room temperature with a tea, coffee or a liqueur of your choice. It is perfect for when family and friends visit over the festive season.
In addition, you could warm it a little and serve as dessert with some cream or custard. Ice cream would be delicious too!
It is so easy to make this simple cake which is full of fruit. It is ideal for people who have a busy schedule.
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.
Love to know in the comments below what you think!
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.