Farmhouse Fruit Cake

I recently purchased a couple of new ( well new to me, they were actually described as used, hence the cheap price I got them for) cookbooks. One of which was the “Yeo Valleys Great British Farmhouse” cookbook by Sarah Mayor which contains traditional recipes made as she was growing up on the family farm as well as recipes made today in their staff / conference venue restaurant.

How cute is this cover with the cartoon cow and carrots!


I noted there was a recipe for Farmhouse Fruit cake, and given that I love fruit cake/loaf, and so does my hubby, I knew I had to give this recipe a go.


550 grams of mixed fruit ( I used a mixture of raisins, sultanas, cranberries, mixed peel, dates and apricots, but you could use whatever you had one hand), 120ml of boiling water, 450 grams of Self Raising flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mixed spice, a large pinch of salt, 300 grams of soft butter, 300 grams of caster sugar, 4 medium eggs, 200mls of whole milk and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar ( although the recipe states demerara however I didn’t have any).

Add the mixed fruit to a bowl and add the hot water. Stir together and leave for 1 hour, going back and stirring occasionally.  After 1 hour, place the fruit onto a tea towel and dry. Beware it will cover your towel with a gunky brown mess!  Photo evidence below.

Then add the fruit to a dry bowl and add two tablespoons from the 450 grams of flour and stir to combine.

Preheat your oven to 150° C and grease and line a 9 inch cake tin. My lining has a funny fold as I didn’t quite get the size of the tin right and cut the length too short, so had to add another piece to fill the gap! The recipe also advised to fold a few sheets of newspaper to create a thick band and wrap around the outside of the tin. Tie in place with some string. This is to protect the cake sides from being overly browned or burnt especially with being in the oven for a long time.


Sift the remaining flour and the mixed spice into a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each one, however add a tablespoon of flour with each of the last two eggs.  The add half the remaining flour, half the milk, then the rest of the flour and then the rest of the milk, mixing well after each addition.



Then fold the fruit into the mix,  pour into the cake tin and sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Place in the oven.


The recipe states to cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes, however I cooked mine for 1 hour and 30 minutes in a fan assisted oven and it was ready when I tested with a cocktail stick ( it came out clean). I would recommend keeping an eye on it but not opening the oven door too early. Never open the oven door until the cake is 3/4 of the way through the cooking time given. Opening the door early will mean the temperature will drop and the cake could collapse. Thanks Queen Delia for this brill tip!

Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes or so and remove the side of the cake tin. I left the bottom of the tin and the grease proof paper on until the cake was completely cool , then removed them.

I found that my fruit sank to the bottom despite covering them in flour. In the future I would add more flour to the mixture to see if I could make this cake mix less liquid in order to stop the fruit sinking.

This recipe makes quite a big cake, so would recommend making if you are having a lot of people over or you love fruit cake. Hubbie comes in for his lunch every day with his colleague and they both enjoy a fancy piece* or two with their cuppa tea so this will get devoured pretty quickly in our house! Or you could half the recipe and use a smaller cake tin.

*A ” fancy piece” means a cake in Scotland, actually its usually just in the North East ( Aberdeen/ Aberdeenshire) that I have found this term used and there its pronounced ” Funcee”.  However a “piece or pieces” simply means sandwiches, although I find myself dropping the ” fancy” and simply using “piece” for cake…. just to confuse you more!

Sorry for the impromptu Scots language lesson!





28 thoughts on “Farmhouse Fruit Cake

    1. This is the first recipe from the book I’ve tried and apart from the fruit sinking, it was really good. I’ll need to make the batter thicker to stop them sinking. I’m thinking more of a xmas cake consistency . Which recipes would you recommend trying from the book? Or not trying!


      1. Looking more closely in my book, I can see that I use her recipes more as a starting point as lots of them have scribbled ammendments! The twice baked goats cheese souffles are good.


    1. Aww thanks. I thought I’d better explain ” fancy pieces” as its a term I use often without thinking. But I remembered the first time I said this to my hubby [ at the time my boyfriend] and he looked at me as though he was thinking” what on earth is she on about” . Hes Scottish, but from the west coast where they don’t use this phrase although they use the word ” pieces”. Its funny how even in the same country, even a small one like Scotland, different areas have different words and expressions!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha, no we grew up 161 miles from each other, but it could well have been a different country. I still don’t understand all the word and phrases he and his family use and he still struggles with words from me and my family! In fact at the weekend my brother in law stated ” i’d won a watch” and I was like, what? But it meant I was lucky or fortunate as i’d just got given some dresses for free.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you that’s really nice of you to say. Bit annoyed about the sinking fruit, but oh well, that’s the point of my blog and baking, to learn from both my positive and negative experiences. I’ll just change things up slightly to avoid sinking fruit in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I put flour on the fruit but they still sank. I think the mixture was too liquid. It might need to be a thicker mixture to hold the amount of fruit. Maybe more of a xmas cake consistency.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would add more flour which will make the mix more dense and hold the fruit more. Xmas cake is very dense to hold the amount of and kind of fruit, so this should be ok for this recipe as they are similar. This is not meant to be a light cake. I’m not sure I would try this with lighter recipes, but then lighter recipes don’t tend to have a lot of fruit in them like this recipe does! I’m by no means an expert though, but I will experiment and research to solve issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I had never eaten fruit cake before I moved to the UK, I had cakes with fruit in but they were never quite the same. Over the years in the UK I have grown to like them and yours looks beautiful. I can only imagine how nice your kitchen must have smelt and just tucking in 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the language lesson – I thought you might like to know here in the States a “fancy piece” is an old fashioned term to describe a woman with low morals, particularly one who would wear cheap clothes and too much makeup.The fruitcake looks marvelous and I thought it very farm housy to wrap it in newspaper!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I’ll have to watch next time I’m in the states not to ask for a fancy piece then or I could be in trouble! It did look very farm housey in the paper, but it was purely to stop the sides getting burnt. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

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