In terms of cooking January is all about using up Christmas leftovers for me. There are some things such as cheese and biscuits – both sweet and savoury – which are easily scoffed without the need to start searching for recipes. For other items it's a little trickier as they need to be used in a recipe like mincemeat. I seem to have jars of mincemeat all year round as after Christmas the supermarkets reduce them to silly amounts such as 10p. At those prices the mincemeat makes a good and very cheap substitute for plain dried fruit plus it gives it a bit of tang which goes very nicely. Another bonus is the jar it comes in which will be used for when the preserving season starts for me.
I first served this cake to a group of people I had round my house for an afternoon meeting. One of them was the local vicar who helped himself to two slices – what better recommendation can it have?! I will add I wasn't the one who asked, “More tea, Vicar?”! It is very simple and quick to put together so if you do find yourself needing a tasty cake at short notice this is a great option. Being a fruit cake it also keeps well if well wrapped up or kept in a air-tight tin.
Equipment: 8in (20cm) round cake tin lined, large bowl, electric whisk/beaters
4oz (115g) Unsalted butter softened or baking spread
4oz (115g) Demerara sugar
12oz (340g) Mincemeat
7oz (200g) Self-raising wholemeal flour
3-4 tbsp (45-60ml) Milk
1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar. As the demerara sugar is quite gritty it may not seem as smooth as usual.
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time adding a little of the flour each time.
4. Stir in the mincemeat and then fold in the flour and milk to keep it moist.
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and smooth out the top.6. Bake for 1¼ hours until the top is firm and the cake starts shrinking away from the sides.
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