Tropical fruit cake

Tropical fruit cake

Bake and Decorate
25 slices
Laura Edwards

This gingery, rum-laced cake is a twist on the classic fruit cake. When I was dreaming this up, I thought of all the flavours of exotic sun-soaked holidays and put those in instead of the more usual fruits and nuts. You'll need to start this cake the day before to let the fruits soak up the rum.


Quantity Ingredient
125g dark glace cherries
150g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
150g dates, chopped
200g glace ginger, chopped
150g sultanas
150g currants
120ml dark rum, plus a couple of tablespoons more to feed the cake
2 limes, finely zested and juiced
295g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
100g shelled unsalted pistachios
100g pecan nuts
150g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
150g dark muscovado sugar
150g ground almonds
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons black treacle

To decorate

Quantity Ingredient
12 dark glace cherries
18 pecans
24 shelled unsalted pistachios

To decorate (optional)

Quantity Ingredient
Glacé fruit and nut cake
or Christmas gifts


  1. The day before, rinse the cherries for the cake, then dry on kitchen towel and chop. Place the apricots, dates, ginger, sultanas, currants and cherries in a large bowl and pour over the rum, lime zest and juice. Give it all a good stir, cover with clingfilm and leave overnight.
  2. Next day, preheat the oven to 140ºC. Lightly butter a 20 cm, 7.5 cm deep, square tin and line with baking parchment. Wrap the outside of the tin with a collar of brown paper (or even newspaper works fine) and tie with string. Do this every time you are baking fruit cakes that need long cooking, to protect the outsides from scorching in the tin.
  3. Scatter the pistachios and pecans on to a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes. When cool, chop and set aside. Sift the flour, mixed spice, ground ginger and salt together. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until really light and fluffy (this will take at least 5 minutes). Add the ground almonds, then, very gradually, the eggs, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, the treacle and, lastly, gently fold in all the nuts and the fruits with their delicious rummy liquid.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin, levelling the top. Arrange the cherries, pecans and pistachios on top. Bake on a low oven shelf for about 2 1/2–3 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If it browns too much before it is fully cooked, make a square of foil a bit larger than the cake, pierce a hole in the centre and open it up, then place it over the cake to protect the edges of the top surface.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. When cold, prick all over with a fine skewer and sprinkle over the extra rum. Wrap in baking parchment, then foil, and leave to mature for a week – even a month – though it will still taste delicious if you need it straight away.
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