As with most things in life, there’s a team pro-fruit cake and a team anti-fruit cake. When this time of the year rolls around, I want to eat fruit cake morning, noon and night! This is my best one yet – made with SA Olive extra virgin olive oil for the most indulgent version of this festive bake yet.
A few years ago I started experimenting with making my own festive season fruit cakes, instead of purchasing one at the supermarket. I find the store versions sometimes overly iced, overly spiced, overly boozed or overly dry.
A superfan of fruit cake all year round, I personally crave a luxurious density, a squishiness without being brittle, a voluptuous amount of cherries and berries and dried fruit, and just the right amount of citrus zing. So what makes this fruit cake so perfect, so much more decadent than any others I’ve tried before?
The answer is simple. A heart-healthy helping of extra virgin olive oil.
About SA Olive
SA Olive, the association representing the interests of the South African olive industry, has just launched its fresh new website and it is full of goodness. From the latest in news and events, to tips and tricks on growing, curing and tasting olives, this site is a hub of information for anyone interested in this burgeoning South African industry and its wonderful people and produce.
And whilst you’re there, you’ll find me there, too, alongside other great SA Olive Ambassadors!
Fruit cake EVOO-lution
Much lighter than a traditional fruit cake, this one doesn’t have to be made months in advance. A quick and easy recipe that allows for generous modification, it couldn’t be easier to win over a few dinner guests to the pro-fruit cake side of the team!
The addition of SA Olive EVOO lends an incredible moistness and almost tenderness to the cake, whilst holding its form perfectly. Virtually no crumbs or breakage when sliced, it is not only delicate in flavour, but also in texture.
I chose a particularly peppery EVOO for this recipe, as you need a smidgeon of bitterness to offset the natural sugars of the dried fruit. Green-gold in colour, The Little Kitchen was drenched in the grassy goodness of olive oil as I poured a generous amount into the mix. This particular bottle of EVOO had the perfect balance of fruitiness to spice, and I couldn’t wait to slice into a chunky piece of fruitcake, enveloped in thick layers of vanilla-bean custard as I whistle Jingle Bells.
Olive Oil Fruit Cake
- 4 cups dried fruit cake mix / sultanas / currants / cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 1.5 cups castor sugar
- 200 ml SA Olive extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 cup mixed nuts, unsalted, plain or roasted
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups cake flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp salt
- Place dried fruit, orange juice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit start to rehydrate and plump up.
- Turn off the heat and remove. Stir in sugar until it has dissolved. Stir in olive oil, lemon zest and nuts and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Heat oven to 180C and line a 23 x 23 cm tin with baking paper.
- Place soaked fruit (with all the liquid!) in a large bowl and add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
- Fold in flour, baking powder and salt.
- Spoon batter into prepared tin and level out.
- Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs. Watch carefully after the 1 hour mark to make sure the top isn't over browning and cover with a piece of tin foil if it is. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.
SA Olive CTC seal
Always look out for the SA Olive CTC seal on a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). This is a seal of confidence and it’s the guarantee that the producer is ‘committed to compliance’ in quality olive oil production. It confirms that the EVOO is 100% locally (South African) produced and is authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This content piece has been created in proud collaboration with SA Olive.