This recipe was given to me by a teacher at my children’s school. She has been making it for over 30 years and it’s superb!
This recipe can be halved. The bow may look complicated, but it is very easy, and you will be surprised how much creative fun you can have with the icing – it is pliable when just rolled, but when your shapes are made, you can leave them to dry and become hard.
Serves approx 40
- 2 cups water
- 500g butter
- 2kg dried mixed fruit
- 2 tbsp malt vinegar
- 1 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon and ground ginger
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 x 395g tins condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- White icing
- Bakel’s Pettinice icing
- ½ cup apricot jam, thinned with 2 tbsp boiling water
1 Preheat the oven to 160oC. Grease and line the base of a large cake tin and a medium cake tin. The mixture will make two large cakes – if you have leftover mixture from making a smaller second tier, cook the remaining in a loaf tin.
2 In a large saucepan, combine water, butter, mixed fruit, vinegar and spices and gently melt together, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
3 When just warm, stir in baking soda, condensed milk and vanilla essence. Sift over flour and baking powder and mix until well combined.
4 Spoon into cake tins and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake for 1¼ hours for the large cake and 45-60 minutes for medium, or until a skewer inserted in the centre is removed cleanly. You will be able to smell the cake when it’s nearly cooked. Cool cakes in tins.
5 To assemble, arrange the large cake on a stand, spread jam in the centre of the top of the cake and add the smaller cake.
6 For the icing, roll out with a little icing sugar to make a rectangle 2-3mm thick. Use a ruler to cut even strips (about the ruler width). Brush the cake with a thin strip of apricot jam where you want to place the strips. Lay the strips over the cake to form a present. For the bow, fold short strips into loops, lay them on their sides and allow to dry and set. Decorate the cake with the loops at the top and trim strips to make ribbons.