Christmas is almost upon us and time to start thinking about getting those christmas cakes going. Ruby is renowned for her baking and here she shares her spectacular fruit cake recipe which is equally good for christmas or your wedding. Ruby says “Gladioli Botha, an International Sugar Artist Judge, won first prize on the Rand Royal Show and many other shows for this Christmas Cake year after year. I belonged to a cake decorating club called Sugar Craft for many years and Gladioli Botha was our President and and my mentor – she shared her fabulous recipe with me. I used this as a base for the wedding cakes I baked and decorated in my wonderful little business in Johannesburg where I lived for 25 years. I have made this cake for at least 150 brides. So here we go.”
You need two tins, 8 inch square
Line each tin with a double layer of foil, shiny side to the inside.
Spread with butter.
4 1/2lbs of mixed fruit: raisins, sultanas, currants, candied peel(optional-I don’t use, some people don’t like it)*
1 lb dates, finely chopped *
1 1/2 lbs butter *
1 1/2 lbs brown sugar *
1/2 lb pecans
1/2 lb glazed fruit
1 lb fresh cherries,halved and pips removed
12 eggs, extra large
2 lbs cake flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
]1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons bi carb
2 cups brandy
1 cup masala
- Boil together all ingredients marked with * with 2 cups water and 1 cup brandy for 15 minutes.
- Turn into a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons bi carb and stir. Leave to cool completely.
- Cut pecans, chop glazed fruit, wash cherries, which have been halved, and add to cooled mixture.
- Sift dry ingredients and add to mixture alternating with the eggs which have been beaten.
- Fill tins 2/3rds full. Wet hands with water and pat the top of the mixture until even – it will look sort of milky.
- NOW HERE IS THE TRICK. Put both tins into a cooking bag (roasting bag) and tie with string.
- Bake at 130 deg C for about 3 hours – 8″ square or 4 – 41/2 hours for a round tin
- You can smell when it is cooked. Not sure – stick a skewer into it and if it comes out clean its cooked.
- Take out the oven and pour remaining 1 cup brandy and 1 cup masala over the cakes whilst still in the cake tin. Put them back into the roasting bags and cover them with a blanket and allow them to cool completely (18 hours).
- Decorate if you are an artist or eat as is.
- Thank you, Ruby.
Birthdays were always special times. We usually had glorious parties at home after weeks of planning. Bianca’s parties tended to feature a swimming or Halloween theme. Sven’s parties usually involved some type of sporting theme.
This is one of those everyday plain chocolate cakes that everyone loves. We used it baked in a lamington tin covered with smarties to take to school to celebrate birthdays as well as at the birthday party. It was extra special cause we only had it when someone was having a birthday cause I always suspected that chocolate wasn’t real good for you and stayed away from anything chocolate most of the time.
300g (440g) butter, cut into small cubes
200g (300g) flour
250g (400g) sugar
40g (60g) cocoa
4 (6) eggs
100ml (150ml) water
2t (3t) baking powder
- Heat oven to 170°C or 325°F.
- Butter and flour a 23cm diameter baking tin (20cmx30cm lamington tin).
- Place all ingredients in food processor.
- Process for 10 seconds.
- Scrape ingredients down and process for another 10 seconds.
- Place in baking tin and bake for about 45-50minutes until knitting needle or skewer comes out clean.
- Cover with chocolate icing and decorate.
Note: Quantities in brackets can be used to make the larger lamington sized cake
- Process in food processor till well mixed.
- Spread top and sides of cake with icing immediately. It will set if not used immediately.
This sweet is thick, gooey and absolutely scrumptious. When Bianca was first born I used to have a ritual where I would meet my best friend, Keryn, for tea once a week. This was what we would order when we were being bad at one of our favourite coffee shops in Rosebank in Johannesburg. Something I have not seen in Australia- maybe because they don’t have Salticrax. In case you’re wondering what we had for tea when we were good it was ……. cheese muffins. Click here for the Cheese Muffins.
2 extra large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup caster sugar
16 salticrax, broken into small pieces
1 cup halved pecans
whipped cream and some extra chopped pecans to serve (Optional)
- Heat oven to 160°C (300°F)
- Beat egg whites until frothy.
- Add sugar and baking powder and beat until stiff.
- Fold in pecans and salticrax.
- Smooth into greaseproof lined pie dish.
- Bake for about 30minutes until colour changes and tart is dry.
- Just before serving, cover with whipped cream and extra pecans.
- Eat in one sitting as it will go soggy if left overnight.
Note: The closest thing I found to Salticrax in Australia was the Franklins No Frills imitation Jatz. Jazz themselves are not quite right.
I found this recipe in a copy of the Sunday Times in the early 1980’s and, with a few modifications, made it my own – one of the cakes that established my reputation as a cook. Aren’t people kind? The reputation is undeserved as this is so easy – use quality ingredients and don’t dry the cake out when you bake. Then you, too, will be famous. A bit of trial and error is involved in getting the moistness just right – make some notes that are specific to the way your oven functions till the cake is perfect. Believe it or not, this is a boiled fruit cake so you can make and eat it straight away. I boil then mix the whole thing in a deep 23cm pot. And, yes, it was the cake I made for our wedding cake.
Simmer in a large pot for 10 minutes:
750g mixed cake fruit mix, Use Sunbeam brand WITHOUT the imitation cherries
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
Add the following and continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes:
125g glace cherries, halved (not imitation) or any other place fruit
1 cup mixed unsalted nuts, halved (mix of almonds, brazils and walnuts work best)
Cool thoroughly or overnight then add the following beaten together:
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon almond essence
1 teaspoon lemon essence
1 teaspoon rum essence
2 Tablespoons brandy
Sift together and add:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
- Mix all well.
- Line a 23cm round baking tin with 3 layers of greaseproof or brown paper. Add fruitcake mixture.
- When baking it is best not to use the fan forced feature as this dries the cake out. Bake at 140°C for 45minutes then at 160°C for another 45 minutes. Start checking early and remove as soon as the knitting needle/skewer comes out just clean.
- Remove from pan and pour over 3T brandy. When cool turn cake over and pour over another 3T brandy.
- Wrap in 2-3layers of foil in an airtight container. Can be eaten immediately but can keep for 3 months.
This is the South African version of custard tart which uses more milk, fewer eggs and the “custard” is made before pouring into the pastry shell resulting in a lighter texture. In my opinion, it tastes much better – Try it and see. Melktert originates via the Dutch Settlars in the Cape in the 1600’s and is thought to have come from Dutch Medieval Cooking. Today it remains omnipresent at every cake sale, picnic, or party. There are many versions – this recipe was given to me by my best friend, Keryn.
½ cup sugar
1¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
- Mix dry ingredients in food processor
- Add butter and pulse until it mixture is crumbly
- Add beaten egg and process till pastry just forms
Filling:2½ cups milk
1 Tablespoon maizena or cornflour
1½ Tablespoons flour
1½ Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- Mix maizena, flour and sugar to a paste in ½ cup milk in a pot.
- Separately, bring remaining 2 cups milk with cinnamon stick to the boil.
- Add boiling milk to paste, stirring all the time.
- Place on the stove and heat till just boiling, stirring continuously.
- Cool. While cooling roll out pastry and line a 23cm diameter pie dish.
- Add beaten egg and butter to cooled milk mixture. Remove cinnamon stick.
- Pour filling into pastry shell.
- Sprinkle thickly with ground cinnamon.
- Bake at 190°C for 20 minutes.
Make when you’re feeling indulgent – really bad, but sooooo delicious… easy and a little different because it uses condensed milk as a base for the filling. A Golliwog biscuit base adds a lovely chocolatey contrast to the lemon filling or use ginger nuts for a spicy combination – my favourite. The food processor works well to crush those Arnott’s ginger nuts – don’t make them too fine as it is nice to retain some crunch.
1 packet Golliwogs chocolate biscuits or Gingernuts, crushed
125g butter, melted
1x400g tin condensed milk
2 eggs, separated
½ cup juice and rind of 1 large lemon
¾ cup caster sugar
- Heat oven to 170°C.
- Mix melted butter with crushed biscuits and use to line a 23cm pie plate. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- In a clean bowl, mix condensed milk with 2 egg yolks, juice and rind of 1 medium lemon
- Pour condensed milk mixture into biscuit lined pie plate
- In a clean bowl beat the 2 egg whites until stiff.
- Slowly add caster sugar beating all the time to make the meringue mixture. I often omitted the caster sugar and just spread the egg white over the lemon filling – a slightly different texture but still works well.
- Spread meringue mixture over lemon filling.
- Bake for about 20 minutes till meringue has set and is lightly browned. If you have omitted caster sugar in the meringue the cooking time will be less – around 15 minutes.
This is one of my favourite adult birthday cakes – it looks spectacular and tastes divine. The finished cake does take a bit of time as the collar is fiddly and can be nerve wracking the first time you do it. However, the sense of achievement and admiration is well worth it. The trickiest part is actually the cutting of the cake as it is so delicate – be sure to use a sharp hot knife which you dip into hot water and dry between slices. The cake component actually tastes better if made the day before. I recommend using white chocolate for the collar and decorating with chocolate curls rather than berries as this gives the best results. The collar does not have to be perfect – I think it looks better when it has some raggedy edges.
175g butter, soft
¼ cup cocoa
1½ cups sugar
2 cups self raising flour
¾ cup milk
1t bicarbonate of soda
1t vanilla extract
¾ cup boiling water
750g white, milk or dark chocolate couverture
Optional: Berries to serve
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Butter and flour a 23cm springform tin and line the base with glad bake greaseproof paper.
- Beat all cake ingredients together in a Kenwood mixer for 3-4 minutes.
- Spoon into baking tin and bake on centre shelf of oven for 45 minutes.
- Cool – the cake is even better eaten the next day.
- To make the collar, form a double collar of glad bake greaseproof paper that will fit around the outside of the cake and extend about 4cm above it
- Melt chocolate in the microwave on defrost (white chocolate burns very easily) stirring occasionally.
- Spread a thickness of 4mm of chocolate onto the greaseproof paper that makes up the paper collar. The remainder will be used for the chocolate curls.
- Working quickly while the chocolate is still soft, hold both ends of the paper collar firmly, and wrap the collar with the chocolate against the cake, around the cake.
- Stand or refrigerate 5 minutes until chocolate has set.
- Carefully peel off glad bake greaseproof paper – it really does work.
- Spread remaining chocolate on a piece of glad bake and leave to harden. Reheat a little to soften if necessary.
- With the blade of a knife at a 45° angle and pushing away from you make chocolate curls to decorate the top of the cake
- The cake should be cut with a hot knife.
- Optionally decorate top of cake with mixed berries just before serving.
You don’t need guests to make this cake – it’s so easy using the food processor that we have it all the time. Serve sprinkled with icing sugar for everyday or make an orange icing to jazz it up. This will keep for one day. As with all food processor cakes avoid overprocessing to keep cake light.
½ orange with rind, cut into 2 quarters
1 cup caster sugar
250g butter, cubed
2 cups self raising flour
- Heat oven to 180°C.
- Prepare a 23cm diameter cake tin. I usually line with baking paper to eliminate sticking.
- Add 1/4 orange with rind to food processor. Remove rind from second quarter and add flesh to the food processor. Process orange.
- Add caster sugar, butter and eggs, and process till just mixed. Over processing results in a heavy cake.
- Now add self raising flour in 4 batches, BRIEFLY processing in between each addition.
- Pour into prepared 23cm cake tin. Bake at 180°C for 50-60 minutes until skewer comes out clean.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar.
This cake has everything – delicious ingredients like chocolate, nuts and coconut but is not rich, a crunchy textural surprise in the middle, looks good and is incredibly easy to make in the food processor. As with all food processor cakes, the secret is not too overprocess else the cake will taste heavy – follow the instructions carefully. Don’t be put off by the size because the cake also keeps well. However, it is probably a little large unless you have a few guests around to share it.
1½ cups sugar
3 cups flour
1½ cups sour milk (add 4t vinegar or lemon juice to sour milk or use yoghurt)
1½t baking powder
1½t bicarbonate of soda
½ cup desiccated coconut
200g dark chocolate, melted
1 cup walnuts
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup sticky dark brown sugar
- Heat oven to 175°C.
- Using the steel knife in a food processor coarsely chop the nuts with several quick on/off turns. You want them as chopped nuts – not powder.
- Remove half the nuts to use later for the cake batter.
- Add remaining filling ingredients to food processor with the other half of the nuts and process for a few seconds just to mix together. Do Not overprocess. Remove.
- Now make the batter by processing butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla for 2 minutes. It really is 2 minutes.
- Add half the flour and process with 2-3 on/off turns, until nearly blended. DO NOT OVERPROCESS else cake will taste heavy.
- Add sour milk, baking powder and remaining flour. Process with several on/off turns, JUST until blended.
- Add coconut and reserved nuts. Process with 1 or 2 more quick on/off turns.
- Pour half the batter into a greased 26cm diameter Bundt or tube pan.
- Drizzle half melted chocolate over batter and cut through batter with a knife to swirl chocolate through.
- Sprinkle with ¾ of the filling and press down firmly.
- Top with remaining batter and cut through remaining melted chocolate.
- Top with remaining filling and press down firmly. Top filling may burn if not moistened with a little batter. However do not busy as this is a topping that replaces icing and should look attractive.
- Bake for 55-60minutes and cool for 15 minutes before removing cake from tin.
- Enjoy the compliments.
Serves 12 to 14
An inexpensive alternative to fruit cake and so easy – you can use raisins instead of currants or top up with raisins if you don’t have quite enough currants. Will keep for a week.
- 500g (3 1/3) cups dried currants
- 200g (1 cup) dark brown sugar
- 1 cup cold black tea
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
- Combine currants, sugar and tea in a bowl, cover and soak overnight
- Add egg and flour to currant mixture and mix until well combined
- Spoon mixture into a greased and base-lined 13x23cm loaf tin and bake at 150°C for 70-90 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer
- Stand 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool
- Serve thinly sliced with butter
- Don’t tell anyone how easy it was when they compliment you
This cake is so easy (literally takes 10 minutes to prepare) and tastes great. It should be eaten on the same day as it is baked. Although there are 8 generous slices, four people eat it up in no time – nothing quite like fresh cake out the oven. The secret to getting it light and airy is to stick to the processor times given – it does not have to look smooth. Overprocessing results in a heavier cake.
- 2 cups cake flour – don’t sift
- 1 cup sugar
- 125g butter cut into cubes, at fridge temperature (NOT ROOM TEMPERATURE)
- 3 extra large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 5ml (1t) vanilla essence
- 15ml (3t) baking powder
- Heat oven to 190°C.
- Add cubed butter to flour and sugar in food processor.
- Process for 20 seconds ONLY till ingredients are integrated and it looks like coarse Mieliemeel or polenta.
- Add eggs and milk and process for 10 seconds. DO NOT OVERPROCESS
- Scrape down sides. Add vanilla essence and baking powder and process for 5 seconds ONLY.
- Transfer to greased 25cm bundt baking tin (one of those tins with fluted sides and hole in centre) and bake for 28-30minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.