Soaking the dried fruit in a cup of PG tips Green Tea, before adding it to the mixture, makes a wonderfully moist loaf with the subtle flavour of the tea coming through.
It is worth shopping around for dried fruit that is extra plump and juicy - I like to use jumbo flame raisins and Orange River sultanas, of South African origin.
The mixture can also be divided between mini loaf cases, to make 8 - 10 little individual sized loaves. Sticky fruit loaf is served daily for 'royal' afternoon tea!
For the cake:
- 1 PG tips Green Tea teabag
- 170g / 6oz soft butter
- 170g / 6oz dark soft brown sugar
- 3 medium free range eggs
- 210g /7 1/2oz plain flour
- 12,5ml / 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 10ml /2 tsp mixed spice
- 115g / 4oz glacè cherries
- 115g / 4 oz soft plump sultanas
- 115g / 4 oz soft plump diced apricots, diced
- For the sugar syrup:
- 120ml / 1/2 cup water
- 55g / 2oz granulated sugar
- 5ml /1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Make the tea in a cup and then pour it over the sultanas and apricots and leave for about an hour to soak.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C /325'F
- Line the base and sides of the loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding in 2 tablespoons of flour with the last egg. Sift in the remaining flour and spice and mix well.
- Wash and dry the glacè cherries, cut them in half and dust them lightly with flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Lastly, drain the excess tea off the sultanas and apricots and mix in the fruit.
- Pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out perfectly clean.
- While the cake is baking make the syrup: Combine all the ingredients in a small heavy-based saucepan, stir while heating to dissolve the sugar and then simmer for 4 minutes.
9. Leave to cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack. Glaze it all over with the sugar syrup; paint it on using a pastry brush.
10. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. Keeps for up to two weeks. This cake gets better with age!
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