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A Note From Home

Canada’s Cake: A Boiled Fruit Cake

Tea and boiled fruit cake

This is my rendition of the recipe for Canada’s Cake as handed down from my Grandma. It’s a boiled fruit cake, where dried fruit is simply boiled in water with some spices and other flavourings, cooled and then mixed with flour and baking soda. It’s an old-fashioned treat that you can eat as is or you might like to spread with some butter if you have it. It’s simple, unfancy, economical and won’t win prizes for elegance, but is still worthy of a place on the teatime table.

You’ll need:
  • 450g sultanas (or other dried fruit)
  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp gnd cloves
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 400ml hot water
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
You’ll also need:
  • I used an 18cm round cake tin that was about 7.5cm deep. This made for a very full tin and very tall cake, which took longer to bake than I’d anticipated. I would be inclined to use a 20cm square tin next time.
The Steps:
  • Add the sultanas, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar, salt and butter to a medium-sized saucepan along with the hot water. Bring to a boil over a medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool fully (I left it for about 2 hours).
  • When you’re ready to bake the cake, preheat your oven to 150C and grease and line your baking tin.
  • Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in a teaspoon of hot water and add to the boiled fruit mixture along with the flour. Mix until combined.
  • Scrape the cake mixture into your baking tin and bake until a skewer inserted comes out fairly cleanly. This took about 2 hours for me but start checking the cake periodically after about an hour. You’ll also want to cover the cake with foil at that stage, as any fruit exposed at the top of the mixture may burn.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes or so and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Once it’s cool, go and get the kettle on. Any cake that remains after teatime can be wrapped in foil, stored in an airtight tin and should keep for at least a couple of weeks.
The Variations:
  • You can really vary the dried fruit and spices according to what you have and what you like.
The Results:
  • One old-fashioned fruit cake which will serve one large Irish family for tea.