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The Delicious Appreciations of Pick Yin

Not exactly predictable.
Has enough brains for codes
(but can be completely clueless on other more important matters).
Likes her Joe (and her man?) black, her chocolate dark and her food spicy.
“Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu.” — Seneca

Total Posts   191      Last Updated   23 November 2015 12:00 PM (GMT +8)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fruit Cake

The past few days were madness. I was caught in the rain countless of times and barely avoided an onset of flu. The shops were filled with mobs, the train service went kaput a few times and Orchard Road flooded (yes, again). However, yours truly survived, coming home with presents, groceries enough to feed an army and even a couple of ornaments for the tree. A jar of apple cranberry chutney and bottles of chili jam were gotten over with, the goodies wrapped and stuck under the tree, the house cleaned to a presentable state for Vijay's parent's visit. I even managed to bake this cake.

Taken from a page of my mother's battered old recipe notebook, this was my late father's favorite of all her baked goods. I'm pretty sure it came from the back of a Big Sister Fruit Mix box, just like most of the recipes of our mothers. You can really whip this up in no time. There is no boiling, separating of eggs, basting with booze and other hair pulling tricks. Only if you wish, and especially if you have a bottle of stray rum, cognac or brandy lying around, make the drunken version. After a little over an hour of having your house smelling like Christmas, you will be reward with a moist, just spiced enough cake to be savored in small bites after a possible mayhem of turkey, ham and lamb roasts.

Except if you, like me, decided to spend another (few) hours fiddling with royal icing, piping nozzle, sugar sprinkles and various designs of snowflakes. In my defense, it was dark and raining yesterday (yes, nothing new to report here) and I got a little carried away after dressing up the border of the cake. Before I knew it, there were four sizes of snowflakes, employment of a pair of tweezers and it was time for dinner by the time I was done. It is, after all, Christmas. This is probably the only time I would bother with royal icing.

Have a blessed Christmas with you and yours, now you'll have to excuse me. The ham (and parents) are waiting in the kitchen.
Fruit Cake [Printer Friendly Version]

Cake recipe from my mother, possibly from the back of a Big Sister's Fruit Mix box. Royal icing recipe adapted from Yossi Arefi-Afshar's Apt. 2B - Baking Co.
Yield: 1 8-inch round cake

Notes: For this cake I didn't use a boxed fruit mix but instead mixed up some dried blueberries, cranberries and sultanas. Though I've chosen to make an alcoholic version of this cake, my mother's recipe is booze free and equally good. You can steep the fruit mix in a warm concoction of orange juice, star anise, vinegar and palm sugar to give it an extra kick. Fruit cakes are best made ahead and allowed to mature in flavor for at least 2 days.

  • 375 grams fruit mix
  • 500 milliliters rum
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon all spice (five spice powder is also good)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 ounces light brown sugar
  • 7 ounces salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a sterilized canning jar, soak the fruit mix of your combination in the rum, ensuring that the fruits are submerged completely in the liquid. Cover tightly and let it sit anywhere between 2 weeks to a month. When ready to make the cake, strain the fruits the night before and let stand to dry. Preheat oven to 190°C with a rack at the lower third. Grease and line an 8-inch round cake tin, set aside.

Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl, fold in the prepared fruit mix, making sure all of them are well coated with flour. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar till smooth and light. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl well. Add in the spices and vanilla extract. Remove bowl from mixer. With a spatula, fold in the flour and fruit mixture gently. Pour batter into prepared tin.

Bake for 45 minutes or until cake is done. Cool on a wire rack completely before storage. Cake keeps up to a year in the freezer and 3 months in the refrigerator, wrapped well.

Royal Icing
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer with a whisk. Beat with hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Use immediately to decorate, covering bowl with a damp dish towel to avoid icing from drying up.

18 Comments on Fruit Cake

Beautiful cake and moody pictures!
Happy Holidays!


Posted by Anonymous Rosa, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:30:00 PM  

I love everything, the fruit cake, the royal icing deco n the wooden cake plate(?)..the pics are absolutely gorgeous n so christmassy.. It's been raining since god knows when, so I wonder how you managed to come up with such picture.. ISO? Flash?

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and family! Cheers!

Posted by Anonymous RibbonClown, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:30:00 PM  

It is a beautifully decorated cake! It didn't look amateurish at all! I've seen that cake stand somewhere, it looks more beautiful in your pictures than the product photos I have seen. Also, where did those log-looking cake stand come from? You're amazing like that!

Posted by Anonymous Mrs Ergül, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:30:00 PM  

the snowflakes look so pretty! I tried making some myself but erm I think I just don't have that artistic flair cos they didnt look half as pretty as yours! Love that cake stand - both the white and the wooden one!

And strangely enough, the first thing I thought of when I saw your photos was: all that icing sugar on the tabletop must be a pain to clean :X must be all that spring cleaning I've been doing

Posted by Anonymous Janine, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:31:00 PM  

Rosa: Thank you, Merry Christmas!

Ribbon Clown: Thanks! I took these on Christmas Eve morning, it wasn't raining yet at the time but it was pretty dark, just what I wanted. I don't bump the ISO and don't use flash either, just tripod with very slow shutter speeds.

Mrs Ergul: The wire cake stand is from Tangs (we should go shopping together one of these days), never seen the product photos but I thought this stand would be good for non-princessy everyday cakes. The log cake stand is from Etsy, don't say I didn't tell you to look there. :D

Janine: Thanks, I was actually inspired by GT's Christmas cake which was covered with white fondant. The key is to achive the perfect consistency of icing, mine was just slightly to thick for good piping but I needed it to stay put on the bumpy cake. The icing sugar was a breeze to clean, it doesn't stick, just dust it all off into the sink and turn on the tap! Merry Christmas!!

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:31:00 PM  

Oh yes! Tangs! ok, let's go there together next time there is the members' sale!

Posted by Anonymous Mrs Ergül, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:32:00 PM  

Pei Lin: OK, I have no self control. I warn you first.

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:32:00 PM  

Looks delicious. My parents loved Big Sister fruit cake, it was a big part of Christmas for them. Can't wait to try the homemade version for myself. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :D

Posted by Anonymous Joyti, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:32:00 PM  

Joyti: You're welcome. I've seen a lot of people knocking around simple classic fruit cakes, coming up with various methods to make them posh and labor intensive but my mother's have always been sufficient for us, too. She didn't even use alcohol in hers. Merry Christmas! :D

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:33:00 PM  

Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at

Posted by Anonymous Jo, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:33:00 PM  

Beautiful photos as always and the cake looks delicious too! Very professional I'd say!

Good health and all the best for the coming year! :D

Posted by Anonymous Gregoire, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:34:00 PM  

This looks beautiful. Did you do all the intricate royal snowflakes decoration? Wow, you've got skills. If it was me there would be a big blob of royal icing on top. haha. I love your photography.

Posted by Anonymous zenchef, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:34:00 PM  

Chef Gregoire: Thank you, it's a simple cake but well received (thank God!). Will you hire me at Four Seasons in the dessert department (no qualifications)? :D Happy New Year to you too!

Stephane: Merci. Yes I piped those finicky little things on top following designs on a hanky from MUJI. I got no skills and not the right size nozzle. And I love yours, especially the latest smoke scene!

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Feb 1, 2012, 2:34:00 PM  

This looks amazing. I have been craving the best fruit cake lately but couldn't find the recipe. So glad I found yours. Was delicious. Thanks.

Posted by Blogger Unknown, at Jul 19, 2013, 2:18:00 AM  

This really does look like an awesome best fruit cake recipe! When can I get some? :)

Posted by Blogger Unknown, at Jul 19, 2013, 2:18:00 AM  

Thanks for sharing! My wife has been trying to find a recipe for the best fruit cake. We'll have to try this and see how it goes.

Posted by Blogger Unknown, at Dec 5, 2013, 12:07:00 AM  

Thanks for the post. I am gathering various recipes and tips for fruit cake, including the recipes from <a href=">Beatrice Bakery</a>. I am excited to try your festive designs with icing!

Rachel Zane

Posted by Anonymous Rachel Zane, at Feb 5, 2014, 2:37:00 AM  

The photos of the fruit cake look sooo delicious, makes me wanna cook one myself right away. The recipe looks lovely, but being a non-alcoholic, I really avoid rum and eggs in my fruit cake. I stick to this recipe I came across on the Prestige SmartChef website, a really simple and quick way to bake Eggless Fruit Cake

Posted by Blogger Unknown, at Dec 18, 2014, 9:10:00 PM  

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