Everyone knows the perfect fruit cake is deeply spiced, full of surprises and ideal after dinner with a fresh cup of tea. But it's hard to find one that we can all agree on. And whose perfect fruit cake are we talking about here, anyway? Yours. So here's a guide to making your perfect fruit cake. How to add your own flavourings without losing density, what fruit to swap, even new flavours to add. If you've been recreating Gran's rock-hard Christmas Cake every year since 1979, it's time to make it your own… Making Your Perfect Fruit Cake
The amounts given here are to be used as a guide; feel free to choose your own fruit and spices. Daughter who hates raisins? Husband who doesn't drink? Pick and mix from the ingredients below, and create a cake that's perfect for your family. Planning Ahead
Your fruit cake will benefit from being made early. Some writers suggest making it 8 weeks ahead of serving; others claim fruit cake will keep and improve for up to a year! The Cake Batter
Delia, Nigella, Gary and Nigel agree on numbers: use equal amounts of flour, butter, and brown sugar, and balance with an egg to every 50g (2oz) butter. For an 8" cake, you'd use 225g (8oz) each of flour, butter and sugar, with 4 eggs. A tablespoon of treacle heightens the dense, rich sweetness. Tamper with these minimums at your peril: the cake batter must be sturdy enough to support the weight of fruit and nuts, and skimping on flour in hope of a lighter result will result in a cake where fruit has sunk to the bottom. Sometimes extra flour is added to balance out a liquid ingredient such as marmalade or fresh orange juice. Look at the mixture when you dollop the mixture into the tin: it should be the consistency of clotted cream, slowly dropping from the spoon. The quality of your ingredients will, as always, dictate the deliciousness of the finished result. Choose organic butter and flour for the finest flavour; free-range eggs and unrefined sugar are...