Easy Boiled Fruit Cake


It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but this is a good one! While busy in the kitchen tonight making this fruitcake it occurred to me to share this quick and easy recipe on my blog. Although it’s called “boiled fruitcake”, it’s baked – the name comes from the fact that some of the ingredients (fruit, butter, sugar) are boiled together beforehand, giving the cake a more complex flavour. It’s a lovely, light fruitcake, perfect for tea or a snack. This recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me.


250g self-raising flour (or if you can’t get that – like here in Germany – 250g flour and 2 teaspoons (10ml) of baking powder)

125g butter

125g sugar

2 beaten eggs (or egg substitute)

360g dried cake fruit mix (or if you can’t get it – like here in Germany – make a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants and candied citrus peel)

250ml water

Optional extras: cinnamon and Mixed spice* (about half a teaspoon of each), and chopped glacé cherries or nuts if you like

*Mixed spice is a blend of sweet spices typically used in fruit cakes or carrot cakes. If you can’t get it in your country you can find a recipe here


Put water, fruit, butter and sugar into a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.


Allow to cool (if it is -4 degrees like it is here in Berlin tonight you can go and stand on the balcony with the pot…just saying 😉 ). The reason for cooling is so that when you add the egg in the next step it doesn’t start cooking.

Add egg, then flour (+ baking powder if using), and mix.

Spoon into a greased loaf tin and bake for 1-1.5 hours at 150 degrees celsius.


Remove and cool slightly before removing from tin.


Aside: I noticed while making this cake that South African baking ingredients are strongly over-represented in my kitchen cupboard. I felt a wave of homesickness / nostalgia while looking at them. It’s interesting how food is linked so closely to the sense of home, but somehow the smells and tastes of food from home really transport you back there for a moment. I think no matter how many delicious or interesting new foods a person might come to like while visiting new places, that taste of home cooking will always be hard to beat. Here are some things you will find in my baking arsenal:


Baking powder and vanilla essence. Because it’s just different here. Actually my Czech husband was the one who threw these into the shopping basket when we visited SA, so he must have come to appreciate them too!


Mixed spice – not available in Germany, although there are other great mixes like Lebkuchen mix that fill the shops around Christmas!


Fruit cake mix. Fruit cake isn’t a thing here. You do get fruit bread in Nuremberg though. There’s also no fruit mince, but I found a recipe for it online. Fruit cake mix can be self-made by combining raisins, sultanas, currants and candied peel, but it’s convenient when it’s pre-mixed.


This stuff, I missed it! I haven’t seen it sold here, so until I brought some back with me I was using butter wrapping to grease pans.


Not really for baking, but I was in the cupboard so I took a photo. You have to have chutney to make bobotie! I find Mrs Balls and Wellington’s equally good. Hot English mustard is also useful for making cheese muffins or scones (the mustard powder is useful for baking, but I didn’t get some). You can get caramelized condensed milk here (from Russia) to make our classic South African dessert, peppermint tart, but I was curious to try this new South African product which is peppermint caramelized condensed milk (it could make a nice cake topping/filling).

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