"Fruit cake has plenty of body and will tolerate the handling that occurs when it is being covered with almond paste and fondant," says Fay Gardner, a well-known Sydney cake decorator.
"Try my recipe - it is basic but has proved to be very popular."
This recipe is for a 21cm square cake tin or a 23cm round cake tin. It can be doubled for a 26cm square tin or halved for a 15cm square tin." Line the base and sides with two sheets of new brown paper and one sheet of greaseproof paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the vanilla. Beat the eggs, one at a time, with an electric mixer and add to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Add rum and stir through the mixture. Gradually add the sifted flour, blending it until evenly distributed. Add Parisian essence and stir in. Lastly, add the mixed dried fruit and golden syrup and mix well. The mixture is now ready to be spooned into the pan.
Preheat oven to 150degC/130degC fan forced. While the oven is heating, spoon the cake mixture into the lined tin. Don't just scoop it into the middle; pack it into the sides and corners, using all the mixture. Level the top with a wooden spoon. Pick up the tin and drop it gently on the table. This will eliminate air bubbles and allow the cake to keep level as it cooks. It is important to keep it as level as possible, for you will later turn it upside down to cover with almond paste and fondant.
Reduce oven heat to 140degC/120degC fan forced. Place the cake in the oven so that the top of the tin, not the paper protruing from the top of the tin, is approximately in the middle of the oven. Only do this when the required temperature has been reached. Do not open the oven door for the next 2 1/2 hours.
To test if the cake is done, insert a pointed steak knife in the middle. Do not use a straw of a metal skewer as they are too thin to give a correct reading. The wide surface of a knife is more accurate. If the knife comes out clean, the cake is done; if it doesn't, put the cake back in the oven and cook for a little longer. Listen to your cake to see if it is done. Cakes sing while they are cooking and the singing stops when they are done.
When you're satisfied it's done, wrap it in a clean towel until completely coo, - this will take about 12 hours. Make sure not to take it out until completely cool.
Note: if you’re interested in joining one of Fay Gardner's classes at St Luke's Hall, Concord, give her a call in the new year on 9712 2889.