Everybody knows that nobody likes fruitcake. We all secretly fear opening up a beautifully wrapped gift and finding “it” inside. Or being served a slice and surreptitiously wrapping it in our napkin and stuffing it … somewhere. Anywhere. As long as we don’t have to eat it!
Let’s face it: Fruitcake has gotten a really bad name, probably because of those strange unidentified objects floating around in fruitcake that may or may not be actual fruit. To me they look more like plastic representations of fruit – and often taste like it, too.
Well, you’ll have no doubt that this loaf cake is made with real fruits and nuts. You can be confident that whoever you decide to serve it to – or gift it to – will enjoy it, because you’ll fix it yourself. And best of all, you’ll incorporate tea into the recipe. There’s a fair amount of chopping involved, but that’s why we have food processors.
I prefer using a darker oolong tea for this cake – the roasty nuttiness with a subtle hint of fruit in the tea imparts a warm flavour that nicely complements the fruity-nutty cake. But I encourage you to experiment with different kinds of teas: a light black tea, a smooth green tea, or even a fruit-flavoured variety. Just remember to let the tea cool to at least room temperature before adding it to the mixture. As always in my recipes, a cup of tea refers to an eight-ounce measuring cup, not a teacupful, which generally holds six ounces.
Once the cake is baked and beautiful, serve it with a lively, full-bodied Assam, a raisiny second-flush Darjeeling, or an ever-so-slightly smoky blend like a Russian Caravan – whichever suits your taste. It’s a perfect tea-time treat!
Fruit-tea loaf cake
About 6 to 8 servings
1/3 cup sunflower or other light oil
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups tea steeped at regular strength
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup almonds or hazelnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Cream together the oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add tea and vanilla and mix well. Sift the flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together into the wet ingredients, mixing until all ingredients are moist. Stir in the fruit and nuts, blending well. Turn the mixture into a well-greased loaf pan, evening out the top with a wooden spoon or spatula. Bake for 35 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick. Allow to cool at room temperature before serving.
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