Hi! Welcome to my blog. I am a major foodie, with a haphazard cooking philosophy, currently making that transition from cooking and baking for friends and family to 'wonder if I could make this my career'. Follow me for recipes, the outcomes of a few experiments, and general lovely foodiness. Opinions, reviews and recommendations are all my own.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Light Summer Style Fruit Cake, and Two Very Special Cakes

If you visit my little blog regularly, you will know by now that I jump between experimenting with recipes and teaching myself cake decorating. I am harbouring a not so secret desire to one day quit the rat race of medical sales, and become a self employed cake decorator, although trust me, at the moment that day seems a long way off in the distance. I have the best family and friends in the world, who are constantly requesting cakes for events to test me, and this month I faced my two biggest and most important challenges yet, as I have baked for two very special events.

Firstly, my grandparents business is celebrating it's 50th year, which is such a fantastic achievement, even without considering the current financial climate. They have built such a wonderfully solid family run business together, and we are all so proud of them. Secondly, Gary's Mum was sworn in as Mayor of Newton Abbot, his hometown in Devon, and we were invited down to the Mayor Making Ceremony, which definitely called for cake! 

Summer Style Fruit Cake

For both occasions, because I was going to be making cakes that would be on display, and would be consumed by a lot of people, I wanted to make a good solid fruit cake, that would be robust enough to be sculptured, transported, and sit in the open air possibly for hours at a time. For me, I always associate fruit cake with Christmas Cake, and brandy soaked fruit, and I really didn't want that flavour for these cakes, what with both events being in May. I had previously made these Honey, Fruit and Nut Flapjacks using tropical fruits, and they tasted so floral and summery I decided to try and get that taste into my cakes. I grabbed my favourite Christmas Cake recipe, and started to chop and change the ingredients, and this is what I came up with...


330g sultanas
170ml cold green tea
zest and juice from 1 small lemon
85g dried apricots
85g dried tropical fruit (I used a mixed selection that was already partially re-hydrated)
130g cherries
170g salted butter
170g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
15g honey
170g plain flour
30g roughly chopped pistachio nuts


(I made three cakes together here, so the images of the fruit portions may look considerably more than the quantities stated. The method remains the same)
  • Start by soaking the sultanas to make them extra juicy. Brew the green tea, and leave to cool completely. Once cool, add the green tea to the sultanas and add the juice and zest of one lemon. Leave to soak for at least two hours, or overnight if possible. (I used partially rehydrated apricots and tropical fruits, so didn't need to soak them. If you are using fully dried fruits, add them to the sultanas to soak before use)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees. Prepare a 20cm/8 inch cake tin by lining with greaseproof paper. Prepare a 'lid' for the tin also, by cutting another piece of greaseproof the same size as the tin, and cutting a small cross in the top to allow steam to escape. 
  • Prep the remainder of the fruit by chopping it into pieces roughly the same size as the sultanas and halving the cherries.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth, then add the sugar and cream together.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat in. 
  • Add the lemon zest, honey and flour, and fold the mixture together until all the ingredients are fully combined.
  • Add the chopped pistachios, and the mixed fruit, and stir through well, so that the fruit is evenly distributed through the cake mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, cover with the lid, and bake for 2 and a half hours, checking after the first 2 hours. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven, and place on a cooling rack. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before removing it. 
  • Cover and decorate as desired.
Because I was sculpting these cakes into a shape, I had the baker's privilege of sampling the cakes upfront, and my goodness did it taste good! The cake has all the structural integrity of a Christmas cake, but the flavour is light and delicate, and the lemon and green tea flavours sit really well with the tropical fruits and apricots. Soaking the fruit in the green tea makes the final cake wonderfully moist as well, despite not being 'fed' with copious amounts of booze like a traditional fruit cake. I would thoroughly recommend this recipe for a summer wedding or similar event as a great seasonal alternative to traditional fruit cakes. 

And as for what I did with these beautiful cakes once I had baked them... well...


  1. These are beyond brilliant! Firstly, I love changing recipes to make them work for you and you did a great job of this. Secondly, you have some excellent decorating skills! The mayor badge is so detailed and intricate, and I can tell that you've really thought about the design of the caravan cakes. You should be very proud of yourself!

    1. Thank you that's so kind! I was so pleased with the way the cake recipe turned out, and will definitely be using it again in the future. It's nice to eat a fruit cake that isn't packed with mixed spices and brandy for a change... And I was so pleased with how the designs came out - been stressing over them for weeks!!!

  2. Looking at these cakes I would say it is sooner rather than later. They are all beautifully detailed and very professional looking.

    1. Comments like that mean the world to me Angela, thank you sooooo much :-) There are a few financial and H&S obstacles in the way yet, but hopefully that will buy me some time to develop my portfolio too... I'm lucky to have the opportunity to test myself with things like this for people that I love :-)

  3. Oh my goodness look at those fantastic cakes! I was impressed when I saw the fruit cake itself but WOW your decorating is something else indeed! Utterly, utterly fantastic! yes, you should definitely go into cake decorating for a living! :)

    1. Thank you so so much! Comments like this really give me the boost and the confidence to keep dreaming :-)

  4. These are absolutely beautiful. I loved the caravan cake when I saw it on Twitter but your Mayoral cake is incredible, too. I love how professional it looks and your eye for detail on the badge is amazing.

    The summer fruit cake sounds a fantastic alternative when sponge just won't do the job.

    I'm not surprised you're dreaming of doing this full time - you've definitely got the skill for it. :)

    1. Thank you Sue that's so kind :-) that badge was the cause of so many sleepless nights! I only had a grainy picture to work from, and I was asking Gary 'is that seriously a sheep jumping over a castle?' ... It was!!! But it went down really well, so happy little me :-) fingers crossed for a lottery win now! :-)

  5. Hi do you know how long this cake will stay moist once iced?

    1. Hi, it's make up is the same as Christmas cake, so when iced will last several months if not cut into, if not longer (I've never kept one longer myself) once cut, it will last a few weeks in an airtight container. I hope that helps?


Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment - I always try to reply as soon as possible.

You can also find me on;
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pantrydoor
Twitter: @ThePantryDoor1
Pinterest: thepantrydoor