Monday, May 17, 2010

Fresh/preserved fruit cake

Yesterday I made 'breakfast cake' using home garden quinces, which had been bottled in a low sugar syrup, and an old Italian recipe which I have adapted over the years. You need to preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade. I like to fill the oven so the energy is not wasted. This one can be placed in the oven alongside baked vegetables or whatever.

Beat three eggs with a spare cup of castor sugar. You can use less and/or brown sugar but it takes longer to become foamy.

Add two tablespoons of virgin olive oil (or another vegetable oil, if you prefer).

Add the grated zest from 1 or two oranges or a couple of lemons.

Add three cups of self-raising flour, cup by cup, carefully and quickly folding in.

Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of orange/lemon juice and some orange pulp with one to two cups of drained stewed or preserved fruit. Our local quinces, pears, apples or stone fruit are ideal. Keep the juice/syrup aside for another dish or incorporate some instead of the orange juice. If you used wholemeal flour you will need to add more liquid anyway. The resulting dough should be relatively stiff, more like a bread than a sponge cake mixture.

If I don't have fresh local oranges or lemons I have used dried citrus peel instead of rind, and orange blossom water and water in place of the juice. If I am using plums I prefer to use plum juice instead of citrus ingredients and like to add a spice such as cinnamon. Once you've made it once and are happy with the result you can experiment.

I usually use a square 20 cm pan or a deep round cake dish but you can place the mixture in two sponge pans, cook for less time, and serve with jam between the two.

It takes around 50 minutes to bake. You usually need to cover it after twenty minutes, i.e. once it browns enough. I look at it after 40–45 mins and see if it springs back to the touch in the middle and remove once it is done.

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We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)