Fruited Tea Loaf Cake

There is nothing better on a cold winter afternoon than snuggling down into the sofa with a big mug of tea and a slice of cake.   In particular this fruit cake preferably topped with a large slab of butter!!   Bliss.

My Scottish grandmother used to make this cake.  There is no creaming together of the butter and sugar, you just add them to the dried fruit in a saucepan and heat gently until the fruit plumps up in the buttery, brown sugary mixture and then add flour and eggs.  It is ridiculously easy.    Granny used just a straight forward dried fruit mix that you can buy from most supermarkets.  I tend to customise mine and  throw in extra bits to raisins, sultanas and currants as I am not keen on the candied peel that’s always in the mixed fruit packets.    I add  dried cranberries and apricots instead because I love them, but you can use 450g of whatever dried fruit you like or have in your cupboard.    You can add a teaspoon of mixed spice to the cake if you like but it’s purely up to you.   I vary it depending on mood.

Bake it in a loaf tin and, as soon as it is at room temperature, slice it and eat.   The smell is so wonderful I am usually salivating before its properly cooled in the tin and often have to have a sneaky bit.  If you can show more self-discipline than me, apparently it does cut much better when it is properly cooled.  Thank goodness you don’t have wait  for the cake to “mature”  is what I say.   It does keep for a couple of weeks though I’ve never made it last that long.   It also freezes particularly well if you wrap it well once baked in case you want to make two and have one stashed in the freezer.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

  • 450g mixed dried fruit
  • 225g soft brown sugar
  • 110g butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 150ml cold water
  • 225g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1tsp mixed spice (optional)


  1. Put mixed fruit, butter, sugar and water into a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, stirring occasionally
  3. Pour mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Line a 900g loaf tin (2lb old size!)
  5. When cool add flour, eggs and mixed spice (if using)
  6. Pour batter into loaf tin and bake for 50-60 mins in a 170C oven until cooked
  7. Allow to cool before removing from tin.







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