Nana’s Fruit Cake

My Nana. If you think of a little old lady with grey blue hair, hard of hearing, and a taste of milky tea. Well that’s not my nana. It may well be someone elses though.

Always impeccably dressed, wouldn’t wear a track suit to the super market, with a soft spot for chocolates and coffee, and likes her sport. Sorry did I say likes her sport? Mad keen on sports would better describe dear Nana. Will happily sit up on and watch, AFL, rugby, tour de France, soccer…anything that involves a ball, tight shorts, and moving quickly. She’ll watch it. Also aΒ  mad golfer, and rather competitive when it comes to playing board games. If by chance you need to go to the toilet while playing chess, make sure you take a good look at where all your men are before you get up…like I said she can be QUITE competitive.

Nana always has three important cooking tips for me in the kitchen.

1/ If you make a mistake in a savoury dish, cover it in gravy and no one will ever know the difference.

2/ If you make a mistake in a dessert, cover it in whipped cream and no one will ever know the difference.

3/ *this one has to be whispered* When giving someone a recipe for one of your famous dishes…always leave out an ingredient. You always want your dish to taste that bit better, (…did I mention competitive?)

Nana’s Fruit Cake- my version

(with all the ingredients in it…maybe)

250g mixed fruit

125g butter

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

2 beaten eggs

1 cup plain flour

1 cup self raising flour

50g chopped up uncrystallised ginger

2 tbls maramalade

In a pot add the dried fruit, sugar, butter, spices, water bring to the boil. Allow to cool slightly, then add the beaten eggs. Add the flours, chopped ginger, and marmalade. Pop it into a greased pan, and bake at 150C until cooked, and skewer comes out clean.

This a dead easy recipe that you can alter to taste buds and things you have on hand. Nuts, other dried fruit, more spices etc. Freezes well too.


23 thoughts on “Nana’s Fruit Cake

    • Celia I think I am putting ginger in everything at the moment. If it’s not fresh it’s uncrystallized. Love it!
      For the pan size, these ones I did were in individual rectangular cake tray. I usually make it as a whole in approx 20cmx20cm though.


  1. I really dig the addition of marmalade and crystallised ginger. But the icing on the cake, so to speak, would be sharing a slice of this with your nana while watching the men’s championship badminton finals…hold on, do they wear tight shorts for that event or will we have to wait for roman-greco wrestling? In any case, hot buns rather than cakes should be made for that day.


  2. ROFL I know what she left out….. ginger wine! In fact I think tomorrow when the watery sun dawns on the arctic wasteland that England has become in the last week, I might slope off to the shops and buy a bottle. I love the tips, my Mum would have agreed with your Nana about the whipped cream too πŸ˜‰ Is it American football or Australian where they wear the tight shorts? Did she enjoy the ballet too? x


    • Ah Joanna, you see where Nana leaves out the green ginger wine, I happily pick up. I love that stuff! Our household is incomplete unless there is a bottle of the potent goodness. As I said to Celia, anything with ginger in it and I’m all over it.
      No ballet for dear Nana. Not enough rough and tumble.


  3. Nice one…my nanna was one of those blue rince lawn bowling ladies…bless her…her fruit cake was a winner in our family making a fruit cake each year for all of her kids…the recipe has been handed down to one of my aunts…probably miss out on a piece this year…xx


  4. Is your Nana German? πŸ˜‰ My Oma left out an ingredient in every one of the recipes she gave my mother. My Oma would be my Dad’s Grandmother. She left me all her recipes (complete, even) but they were in German so I had to relearn the language and when I translated them I noticed my Mother was always missing something). Although recently I figured out why no one and I mean no one made pie like my Oma. She used almond paste. My mom made Lemon Merangue (sp?) pie for Thanksgiving and promised it was my Oma’s recipe (this is one I don’t have in her book, probably because its one she learned in the States). At any rate half way through the ok Lemon pie I looked at my Dad and said, did Oma use Almond Paste in her pie crust. He almost fell out his chair. (I was 4 when she died, but I remember her vividly, we used to sit in her chair when we visited and she would tell me Grimm’s Fairytales in German, imagine my surprise when the Stepsisters don’t cut off their toes in the American version…). She did in fact use Almond Paste in her pie crust. Came from using Lard which had no flavor. He says she used to cut the Almond paste in with the Lard (he wouldn’t have remembered it if I hadn’t asked either). So for Christmas we are making her pie crust for apple pie…. Sorry I am not brave enough for Lemon Merangue. Merangue scares me…


    • No not German. Although I did use almond paste in a pastry once and it is indeed deeelicious. I lost the recipe so it’s just a lovely memory now but really makes a recipe stand out.
      Lemon Meringue is my all time favourite pie. Nothing better than a good one. Try the meringue, go on….I bet your kids would love it!
      Although almond paste pastry apple pie is a very good substitute:-)


  5. Your nana sounds like a mild version of my mother! My mom loved controversy and would start an argument just to get your blood moving faster. When the world series (baseball) was on she wouldn’t even answer the phone- and she always cheered for the Yankees to win. The Yankees in my family was like the enemy- but she would ignore all the hooplah and keep rooting for them.
    My mom’s fruitcake has fruit , nuts, flour,sugar ,eggs and salt. No spice,no leavening- and it sits in cheesecloths of whiskey or brandy for months before it is served.
    She wrote her recipes like a grocery list- ingredients only- no method – rarely a temperature and a baking time.
    And competitive? I hate board games to this day because of her.


    • Ah Heidi, you made me giggle. I recently beat my mum at a board game… it was great πŸ˜‰
      I’m still yet to make one of these divine food of the gods alcoholic fruit cakes. I have a recipe for one that sits for 4 months ahead of time. I’m not sure I could be that patient! (which is why I have never made it.)


  6. I like the sound of your nana – mine couldn’t cook ,but was dead keen on football and thought everything that the coach of her team said was absolute gospel!
    I have heard about the “leaving something out” trick before, too, so she’s not alone in that!


  7. Teeeheee, love your Nana for her competitive streak. Was she a chef perchance in another life (they’re famous for leaving ingredients out when passing along recipes too). My mom tells me when she was newly married and moved into their first home some of the older neighbours did the traditional thing and brought over a lovely cake which were a big hit, so she asked for the recipe and was years later she realized these wiry old birds N E V E R gave away the recipe with all the ingredients in them!! Too funny πŸ™‚


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  9. Ok, I”m not trusting this recipe…not one little bit! I just know there is some crucial ingredient missing! Your nana sounds like a spirited soul and her tips are great!

    I miss my nana, she taught me to sew, always used to hum under her breath, was a star at crochet and used to tape the late night tennis and watch it the next day before turning on any radios, in case she heard the score! Lovely post πŸ™‚


  10. What a lovely post. I love this kind of fruitcake and your nana seems like a magnificent woman. The photograph is perfect in so many ways – I can’t wait to make this cake!


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