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Fruitcake from Tommy Armstrong's Great-great-great-grandmother's Cookbook
Earl Cilley's Favorite Fruitcake
Chinese Wedding Cake - Louis Cohen
Jack Aubrey's Christmas Cake
             Jack Aubrey's Christmas Cake - Kevin Danks
             The Icing on Jack's Cake - Kevin Danks
             Royal Icing - Astrid Bear
Fire of London 1666 - Recipe For Cakes
Bolo Pretu (Black Cake) - Lois
Lois' Other Fruitcake
The Most Alcoholic Christmas Cake Ever - Gloria Robertson
Australian-American Festive Cake - Kerry Webb
Robin Welch's Favorite Fruitcake
THE Place to Go For All Things Fruitcake - Naomi Lloyd
John Gosden - Orange and Ginger Cake from Jane Grigson's Fruit Book
Pumpkin Fruitcake - Recipe From: Greene on Greens, Bert Greene 1984 - Naomi Lloyd
Mothering Sunday and Simnel Cakes
             Linda DeMars
             Adam Quinan
             Recipe I from Traditional recipes, pancakes and simnel cake
             Simnel Cake (Marzipan-iced) from Recipes: Simnel Cake
             Simnel Cake Recipe
             Simnel Cake
             Simnel Cake (Easter Fruitcake)

Fruit Cake from Tommy Armstrong's Great-great-great-grandmother's Cookbook
Enclosed is a receipt for Fruit Cake from my great-great-grandmother's cookbook (circa 1850). She was married to a large plantation owner in the Low Country of South Carolina. Not exactly a "light" receipt.
1 lb. flour
1 lb. sugar
1 lb. currants, washed and floured
1 gill* wine
1 gill* of brandy or whiskey
2 nutmegs
1 lb. butter
1 lb. raisins, stoned and cut up
1 lb. citron, cut in thin slices
1/2 lb. blanched almonds, chopped fine
12 eggs
1 teaspoon beaten cloves and mace
1 tablespoon beaten allspice and cinnamon
For black cake, double the quantity of fruits and add a few more spices to taste.

*Gill = 4 oz.
copyright 1999 T. Armstrong

Note: very few of the receipts have baking instructions -- I guess it's assumed everyone knew how to bake. One of these days I'm going to find a bunch of cooks to test these out and modernize them and publish her cookbook as it reflects those foods being eaten by the wealthy planters before,durning, and after the War For Southern Independence.

Earl Cilley's Favorite Fruitcake
Here's my favourite recipe for fruit cake.
You'll need the following: a cup of water, a cup of sugar, four large eggs, two cups of dried fruit, a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of salt, a cup of brown sugar, lemon juice, nuts, and a bottle of whisky. Sample the whisky to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Check the whisky again. To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again. Make sure the whisky is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixer. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the whisky. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whisky again and go to bed.

Chinese Wedding Cake - Louis Cohen
1 1/2 C Glutinous Rice
1/2 C Sweet red bean paste
20 candied lotus seeds
5 red dates
20 peanuts
20 longan pulp or white raisins (sultanas, no?)
30 brown raisins
4 pcs squash candy or candied citron
1/4 C candied orange peel
3 T lard (or shortening)
5 T sugar
1 T cornstarch (made into paste with the water)
1 T cold water
1. Wash the rice, place in deep pot add same amount of cold water, bring to a boil and cook about 3 minutes until the water is absorbed. Reduce heat to low, cover, cook another 10 minutes. Remove cooked rice to bowl, add 2 T lard and 2 T sugar, mix well.
2. Using a mold or 6" bowl, brush the bottom with the remaining lard, lay all ingredients except rice in rows or other designs. Squash candy and orange peel must be cut into small pieces first.
3. Place 2/3 of the mixed rice in bowl and then put sweet red bean paste in the center. Cover bean paste with remaining rice, flatten, and steam for at least 2 hours. Unmold on a serving platter.
4. Boil 1 C of water, add 3 T sugar, make it sticky with cornstarch paste. Pour the syrup on the pudding, serve immediately.

On reflection, it sounds like the bastard offspring of double-shotted plum duff and a spotted dog, based on glutinous rice instead of flour.

Jack Aubrey's Christmas Cake
Jack Aubrey's Christmas Cake - Kevin Danks
Here is the recipe for the Christmas cake that Sophie would certainly have baked, had there been a branch of Sainsbury's supermarket in Petersfield (the closest place of any size to Ashgrove) in the early part of the 19th century. It calls for ingredients that reflect Jack's travels to a large degree and I am sure that he would have approved of the use of a fine India Pale Ale in the preparation.
Lissuns who are not familiar with the concept of the Christmas cake should note that what follows is just the first part. In a week or two it will be necessary to marzipan and ice it, in good time for the icing to harden before Christmas. In the intervening period it is permissible to make a few holes with a skewer and to dribble a little brandy over the surface. Thus treated, and subsequently stored away from salt water and out of reach of rats, the cake will last until next Easter.

Jack Aubrey's Christmas Cake
250g (8oz) of ready to eat prunes, roughly chopped (the vacuum packed type, *not* canned and *not* dried)
100g (3oz) of French glace cherries, rinsed and roughly chopped
50g (2oz) cut mixed peel (i.e. candied orange and lemon peel, available here in little tubs)
375g (12oz) Australian sultanas
175g (6oz) Californian raisins
125g (4oz) currants
grated zest of 1 lemon
250ml (8 fluid oz) Old Speckled Hen beer (see notes below for alternatives)
250g (8oz) butter, softened
250g (8oz) dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, beaten
300g (10oz) plain flower, sifted
1 tablespoon mixed spice (we get it ready mixed here - sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and so on)
100g (3oz) ground almonds
2 tablespoons black treacle
100g (3oz) pecans, roughly chopped
1. The day before baking the cake, mix together the prunes, cherries, mixed peel, sultanas, raisins and currants with the lemon zest and the beer. Cover and leave to soak overnight. Old Speckled Hen is a very hoppy India Pale Ale and can safely be replaced with any other quality ale of a similar type. In areas where a decent Christian ale is unknown then I think that Guiness might make a good substitute. I would not recommend the use of a lager type beer.
2. Grease and line the base and sides of a round, extra deep loose-base cake tin (20cm x 9cm / 8 inches x 3.5 inches), with a double thickness of greaseproof paper (cut a disk of paper for the bottom and a strip to put around the sides). Tie a double band of brown paper around the outside of the tin (i.e. the thick brown paper used for wrapping parcels).
3. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C, 325 degrees F, Gas Mark 3.
4. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Gradually add the beaten egg, a little at a time. Mix in the flour, mixed spice, ground almonds and black treacle, followed by the pecans and soaked fruit. Spoon into the prepared tin and make a deep well in the middle of the mixture (this should result in a flatter top when the cake is cooked. Cover loosely with a piece of greaseproof paper with a 2.5cm (1 inch) hole cut in the middle.
5. Bake in the oven for 3.5 hours until the centre of the cake is cooked and springy to the touch. Cool for 30 minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight tin until ready to marzipan and ice.

The Icing on Jack's Cake
A note amongst yesterday's gunroom messages reminded me that last year I posted a recipe for Jack Aubrey's Christmas Cake and promised to follow it up with instructions on marzipanning and icing. Of course, I forgot, so I'll make amends now. For those who made the cake anyway, if you added enough brandy after baking it should still be OK.....

Here are some URL's from someone who appears to know what they are doing. Looks like she makes wedding cakes, but I'm sure the principles are the same.
First, the marzipan: How To Marzipan
Then the Royal Icing. I asked my wife about this and she said that she uses egg white, icing sugar and lemon juice, where I suppose the egg replaces the albumin powder mentioned on this web page: Royal Icing

I seem to recall that there was discussion in the past about the nature of icing sugar, which is a term not apparently used in some parts of the English-speaking world. My brief, inadequate research suggests that it may also be known as confectioner's sugar.
The only other thing to say is that the cake should be iced as soon as possible, to give the icing a chance to harden properly before Christmas. I shall enjoy mine with a glass of Madeira, or possibly two.

Royal Icing - Astrid Bear
Confectioners sugar is indeed what is used for royal icing. For those who are leery of raw egg white (because the icing never gets cooked) you can use powdered egg white. The royal icing I used to cement the Hallowe'en gingerbread house together with was rock hard after sitting overnight. This is also the stuff Martha Stewart et al use to make those perfect lines, base coats, and polka dots on cookies.

Fire of London 1666 - Recipe For Cakes
Of the many events recorded in Samuel Pepys' Diaries the Fire of London must surely be one of the most significant.
An article in The Guardian of January 9th 2001 suggests that the fire might have been caused by burning some small cakes. Here is a contemporary recipe.

Small Cakes, after a recipe from Sir Kenelme Digby, 1669, from The Closet of Sir Kenelme Digby Opened.
Take one pound of very fine flower, and put to it half a pound of sugar. Add one pound of currants well washed. When your flower is well mixed with the sugar and currants, you must put in it a half a pound of melted butter, three spoonfuls of milk, with the yolks of three new-laid eggs beat with it, some nutmeg; and if you please, three spoonfuls of Sack.
When you have mixed your paste well, you must put it in a dish by the fire, till it be warm.
Then make them up in little cakes, and prick them full of holes. Bake them in a quick oven unclosed. Afterwards sprinkle them with sugar.
The Cakes should be about the bigness of a hand-breadth and thin; of the cise of the Sugar Cakes sold at Barnet.

Word List: flower = flour, cise = size, bigness = size, sack = dry Spanish wine (can be left out or dry sherry used instead).

1 pound self raising flour.
Half pound caster sugar
1 pound currants
half pound butter
3 tablespoons milk
3 egg yolks
pinch of nutmeg
3 tablespoons Sack
icing sugar (to sprinkle on top)

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds
Place in oven for 15 minutes at 200C - with the door shut!

Bolo Pretu (Black Cake) - Lois
Say the words bolo pretu to a Dutch West Indian and his eyes will light with pleasure. This moist, dense fruitcake is the traditional wedding cake of the Dutch Antilles, and is also a popular dessert so generously steeped in brandy and other spirits that it will keep for half a year.
Bolo pretu literally means "black cake" in Papiamento, the musical Curacaon dialect woven from Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and African languages. For weddings, the dark cake is traditionally garnished with a snow-white icing sprinkled with tiny silver candy balls (dragees). Guests get to enjoy the cake twice: first at the wedding, then as keepsake slices, which are fancifully wrapped to take home.
You can't really buy bolo pretu commercially, but every extended family seems to have someone who excels in its preparation. The following recipe was inspired by one from Carolina Amira, who works at the gorgeous new Sonesta Hotel near Willemstad.
Bolo Pretu is relatively simple to make, but you'll need at least two weeks from start to finish for steeping the ingredients in liquor and aging the finished cake. The orange liqueur of choice, naturally, is Curacao.

1/2 pound mixed candied fruits, including candied cherries, citron, orange peel, and lemon peel
1/2 pound mixed dried fruits, including raisins, currants, figs, pitted prunes, and dates
2 ounces pounded cashew nuts
1/4 cup Curacao (orange liqueur)
1/4 cup creme de cacao or rum
1/4 cup Malaga or marsala
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon burnt sugar (see Note; optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 eggs
1 cup flour
Approximately 1 cup brandy or rum for basting

For the Icing and Garnish (optional):
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 pound confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons silver candy balls (dragees)
Coarsely grind the candied fruits, dried fruits, and cashews in a food processor or meat grinder. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and stir in the Curacao, creme de cacao, Malaga, and dark corn syrup. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let this mixture steep in the refrigerator for at least 2 days or as long as 1 week.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cream the butter in an electric mixer. Add the brown sugar, burnt sugar, spices, and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each. Add the fruit mixture with its soaking liquid, followed by the flour. Beat just to mix. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter or vegetable oil spray, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter or oil again.
Spoon the batter into the pan and place in the oven. Bake the cake until set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer the cake pan to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Remove cake from pan. Technically, the Bolu Pretu can be eaten at this stage, but no Dutch Antillean would dream of doing so.
For the best results, sprinkle the cake with brandy or rum and tightly wrap in plastic. Transfer the cake to an airtight tin and store in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Every week or so, unwrap the cake and baste with more brandy. The cake will not only keep but continue to improve for several months.
If you'd like to ice the cake before serving, combine the light corn syrup and confectioners' sugar in a mixer and beat to a smooth white paste. Use this mixture to ice the cake. (If too thick, warm the icing over a pan of simmering water.) Sprinkle the cake with the silver balls and cut into squares or wedges for serving. Alternatively, the cake can be cut into pieces, wrapped in plastic, and decorated with ribbons for gift-giving.
Note: Burnt sugar is a coloring and flavoring agent made from darkly caramelized sugar. This is what gives Bolo Pretu its characteristic black color. Burnt sugar is used throughout the Caribbean and can be found in West Indian markets. The cake is delicious without it, but it won't be as dark.

Lois' Other Fruitcake - Lois
This adaptation for fruitcake from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts cookbook "Boston Tea Parties" looks a lot like the one we used, though haven't yet started holiday experimenting on the family.

Mix together six plus generous cups of fruit and nuts, e.g., 1 1/2 heaping cups each of whole pecans, dried cranberries, golden raisins, and cut up dried apricots. Or whatever you like.
Mix together and then add to the fruit the following:
1 Cup flour
1 Cup sugar
3/4 Tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
(Whole wheat flour and brown sugar can be substituted for some or all of the white flour and sugar)
Mix together 4 eggs slightly beaten and 1 tsp vanilla. Add to the rest and mix till the eggs moisten the dry ingredients.
Pack firmly in well-greased loaf or 10 inch angel food pan with removable bottom.
Bake at 275 for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
Cool and eat, or store in fridge wrapped in cloth soaked in brandy or orange juice, then wrapped in foil. Can be covered with confectioners' sugar glaze and fruit bits. Or make and dry glazed orange peel and use in fruit mixture and for garnish.

The Most Alcoholic Christmas Cake Ever - Gloria Robertson
Some weeks ago I promised to post a recipe for an exotic and alcoholic Christmas Cake, one (1% POB content here) Jack would have approved of I am sure. I mislaid the recipe, but there is still time to make it.... here goes.....
Quote from Prima Magazine UK, where the recipe originates and my thanks to them for faxing me a new copy of this recipe:
Too many fruitcakes are dry and uninteresting, but this one certainly isn't. The exotic fruit is steeped in Southern Comfort to make it plump and moist and then half of it is processed which makes the cake really spongy and light. And no, there is no mistake there is 25g of mixed spice, not the usual 1 tsp in most recipes. This gives it a marvelously spicy taste that is not overpowering. Trust Prima and try it! If you like your cakes really dark, use dark muscovado sugar instead of light (that's what they do in the Caribbean, where they call it Black Cake) A hint of golden icing sugar gives the royal icing an interesting caramel taste, just spread it over the cake and top with sugared or foil wrapped almonds.

500g dried fruit ( a combination of dried mango, papaya, sultanas and raisins)
600 ml Southern Comfort
450g organic butter
375g light muscovado sugar
6 medium organic eggs
450g self raising flour
15 - 25g ground mixed spice
2tsp vanilla extract
To decorate:
3 medium organic egg whites
150g golden icing sugar
approx 600g white icing sugar
12 - 16 gold sugared almonds or gold foil wrapped almonds
1.5m gold ribbon
Coarsely chop mango etc and put in a sterilised jar with the sultanas and raisins. Add Southern Comfort, cover and leave to soak for up to 30 days, the longer it soaks the better the flavour.
Preheat the oven to Mark2/150 degrees C/300 degrees F. Put half the soaked fruit mix into a food processor and blend till smooth. Cream butter and eggs and sugar till slightly fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour to stop curdling.
Sift the remaining flour and spice into the bowl and fold in, then add the vanilla, whole and blended fruit and alcohol. Stir gently till combined. Grease and double line a 23cm(9ins) round cake tin with baking parchment. Spoon in the mixture, level the top and bake for 2 and a half hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin then wrap in foil and store for 2 days till ready to decorate.
Whisk the egg whites, gradually adding the golden and white icing sugar until it forms soft peaks. Pile icing onto the cake (already on a serving plate) and spread over top and sides to form an even layer. Lightly peak the icing on top then scatter the sugar almonds. Leave to harden then tie the ribbon around the sides of the cake to finish.
Note: You can soak the fruit for up to 30 days before baking. Once it is made decorate as soon as it is completely cooled and then tuck in straight away - it won't improve on keeping, unless you drizzle it with more booze! If you can't find gold sugar almonds, buy white ones and paint with food colouring. Serves 2- 24.

Australian-American Festive Cake - Kerry Webb
1 cup shelled whole brazil nuts
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
4 oz pitted dates
4 oz glace pineapple
1 cup mixed red and green glace cherries (drained free of syrup)
1/2 cup seeded raisins (see note)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Note: What we call sultanas, you call California raisins, I think. Our raisins are bigger and drier than sultanas.
Grease sides and base of a large loaf tin (8 in. x 4 in.) and line with one layer of greased paper. Place unchopped nuts, dates, pineapple, cherries and raisins in a large basin. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together 2 or 3 times, then mix with sugar. Add to nuts and fruit and mix thoroughly. Make into a stiff mixture with beaten eggs and vanilla. Spoon into the prepared loaf tin, pressing and flattening with the back of a spoon. Bake in slow oven (300 degrees F) 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Leave in tin 10 minutes, loosen around edges and turn onto a cake cooler, then remove paper. When completely cold, wrap in foil and store in refrigerator until it is to be eaten.
Cut with a freezer knife or sharp bread knife.

Robin Welch's Favorite Fruitcake
During the recent discussion of fruitcake and its relative merits and demerits, I completely forgot to mention THE fruitcake, the fruitcake what taught me to love fruitcake. It's baked by a group of Camaldolese monks in Big Sur, and it's how this monastery earns its living. They don't hold back on the brandy, and it's to die for. It's mostly a mail order business and they ship to the US and Canada.
Brandy-dipped Fruitcakes and Date-nut Cakes from the New Camaldoli Hermitage

THE Place to Go For All Things Fruitcake - Naomi Lloyd
Website created and maintained by my friend Mary Beth, and no discourtesy to the baking monks of where-ever, but she makes the best fruitcake I've ever tasted, and makes it in alarming quantities.
She even shares some!
The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake

John Gosden - Orange and Ginger Cake from Jane Grigson's Fruit Book - one of the few cook books that is a pleasure to read as literature)
6 knobs of ginger in syrup, drained and chopped
125-175 g (4-6 oz/ 2/3-1 cup) candied orange peel, chopped
125 g (4 oz/1 cup) blanched, slivered almonds
60g (2 oz/ 1/2 cup) shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
about 625 g (1 and a quarter lb/ 3 and a half cups) mixed seedless raisins, sultanas and currants
300 g (10 oz/ 2 and a half cups) plain flour
1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
1 level teaspoon grated nutmeg
grated rind of an orange and a lemon
250 g (8 oz/1 cup) lightly salted BUTTER
250g (8 oz/1 cup) soft light brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/3 cup) ginger syrup
5 size-3 eggs
1/2 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon milk
Cointreau or other orange liqueur (I use Grand Marnier)
Put ginger on the scales with peel and nuts. Add mixed dried fruit to a total of just over 1 kg (2 and a quarter lbs). Put them in a large bowl and add half the flour, the spices and rinds. Turn everything about with your hands, breaking up the lumps of fruit, and making sure the flour is thoroughly distributed.
Using an electric beater if possible, cream butter, sugar and syrup. Add eggs one by one, then the rest of the flour and the mixed fruit. Dissolve the soda in the milk and stir it in, adding orange liqueur to produce a dropping consistency.
Have ready a 20-cm (8-inch) cake tin, lined with greased Bakewell or other vegetable parchment. Round the tin tie a treble thickness of brown paper, coming about a centimetre above the top of the tin, or slightly more. Fold a wodge of brown paper, or newspaper, and place it on a baking sheet. Stand the tin on top.
Pour in the cake mixture, making a central depression. Bake at about Gas 1, 140 degrees C (275 degrees F) for three hours. Test with a skewer, and be prepared to give another 15 or 30 minutes. A skewer pushed in diagonally, to the bottom should come out clean.
Leave the cake to cool in its tin. Turn it out and peel away all paper.
Put the cake upside down on a sheet of greaseproof placed on a sheet of aluminIum foil. Wrap the greaseproof round the cake, then the foil.
Every week or so, open the parcel to expose the underside of the cake. Make holes with a skewer and pour in 2 tablespoons of liqueur (I alternate brandy and Grand Marnier). Four or five days before Christmas, cover with almond paste (marzipan) and ice it.

Pumpkin Fruitcake - Recipe From: Greene on Greens, Bert Greene 1984 - Naomi Lloyd
1 cup seedless raisins*
1/4 cup plus 3 tbs dark rum**
1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup pureed cooked pumpkin (or pure canned)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup walnuts, chopped
finely slivered peel of 1 orange***
finely slivered peel of 1 lemon***
1/2 cup orange juice
Confectioners' sugar
Place raisins in bowl and add the 1/4 cup rum. Cover and let stand several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and flour a 9 cup bundt or tube pan (or 3 medium loaf pans). Set aside. Sprinkle the dates with 1 tbs of the flour. Set that aside.
Beat the butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer until light. Slowly beat in 2 cups of the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger.
Sift the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Combine the baking soda and buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture in three parts, alternating with thirds of the buttermilk mixture. Stir in the reserved raisins and rum. Stir in the dates, walnuts, orange peel and lemon peel.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Unmold.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar with the remaining 3 tbs rum and the orange juice. (I found it was easier to warm these ingredients over low heat while stirring, until the sugar was dissolved) Brush this over the cake until it is moist but not wet. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving. Serves 8-10
*I used a mixture of regular and golden raisins. This amount could be increased by at least half, although I would not increase the amount of liquor.
**I don't keep rum around the house usually, so I used brandy.
** Didn't have a lemon first time out so I used 2 oranges. I peeled the oranges with a very sharp knife and cut up the peel. Then I carefully juiced them and got my orange juice! Based on this I would do the same if I was using both fruits.
SOURCE: Greene on Greens, Bert Greene 1984. He writes:
"This pumpkin fruitcake is designed for those who eschew fruitcake in any form. It is tender, nutty and only vaguely scented with rum and spice. Parenthetically, it keeps wonderfully well -- if you can keep your hands off it. I cannot!"

Mothering Sunday and Simnel Cakes (from Wikipedia)
Linda DeMars
According to what I found somewhere, Mothering Sunday has been around since the Middle Ages. It is also the fourth Sunday in Lent. It was the day when young apprentices and servants were permitted an annual holiday to return to their home villages to see their mothers. The Lenten fast was broken, according to my book (although, I have always heard that we do not fast on Sundays, every Sunday is considered a feast day) and it was traditional for the returning child to bring a special spice cake called a Simnel cake which was shared by the whole family.

Adam Quinan
I had always heard that the recipe for Simnel Cake was developed by Lambert Simnel, a pretender who was set up by some barons to overthrow Henry VII, failed and was pardoned and worked as a baker in the King's court. But this site claims that it comes from Siminellus some fine Roman bread. Trust those Romans to spoil a good story!
Recipe I from Traditional recipes, pancakes and simnel cake
175 g (6 oz) butter
175 g (6 oz) sugar
3 beaten eggs
225 g (8 oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
125 g (4 oz) glace cherries
50 g (2 oz) chopped mixed peel
250 g (9 oz) currants
125 g (4 oz) sultanas
450 g (1 lb) almond paste
A little milk if necessary
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs slowly. Fold in the flour and spices. Add the fruit and fold in. Add a teaspoon or two of milk if too firm.
Line and grease an 18 cm (7 in) round cake tin.
Roll out half the almond paste to a 16 cm circle. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the cake tin. Put the almond paste circle on top of the cake mixture. Then add the rest of the cake mixture. Bake until dark brown and firm.
Once the cake is cool, roll out the rest of the almond paste into an 18 cm circle. Place the circle on top of the cake and brown quickly under a hot grill.

Simnel Cake (Marzipan-iced)
Contributed by Irene Henry on Jan. 25, 1998
Source: Allen, Darina: The Festive Food of Ireland, Kyle Cathie Limited, 1992.
This is Darina Allen's introduction of this cake--but it could just as easily work for Christmas cake, simply omit the "apostles" and substitute a Christmas decoration for the Easter chicken. She gives the multiple versions (metric, english, and household) of the quantities. Don't ask me why 12 oz. of sultanas equals 2 cups while 12 oz. of raisins equals 1-1/2 cups.
"This traditional Easter cake was introduced to Ireland centuries ago by English settlers. It has a layer of almond paste baked into the centre and a thick layer of almond icing on top and is decorated with eleven little marzipan balls, representing eleven of the twelve apostles - - Judas is missing because he betrayed Jesus."
350 g = 12 oz = 2 generous cups best-quality sultanas (golden raisins)
350 g = 12 oz = 1 1/2 generous cups best-quality currants
350 g = 12 oz = 1 1/2 generous cups best-quality raisins
110 g = 4 oz = 1/2 cup natural glace cherries, washed and chopped
110 g = 4 oz = 1/2 cup best-quality candied peel
55 g = 2 oz = scant 1/2 cup whole almonds, skinned
55 g = 2 oz = generous 1/2 cup ground almonds
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
60 ml = 2 1/2 fl oz = generous 1/4 cup Irish whiskey (may be omitted)
225 g = 8 oz = 2 sticks butter
225 g = 8 oz = 1 1/2 cups pale soft brown sugar
6 eggs, beaten
285 g = 10 oz = 2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice (like apple or pumpkin pie spice)
1 large or 2 small Bramley seedling apples, grated (or other baking apple: Macintosh or Granny Smith)
Almond Paste
450 g = 1 lb = 4 cups ground almonds
450 g = 1 lb = 4 cups caster sugar (finely ground, superfine sugar)
2 small eggs
50 ml = 2 fl oz = 1/4 cup Irish whiskey (may be omitted)
a drop of almond essence (almond extract)
1. Line the base and sides of a 23 cm = 9 inch round, or a 20.5cm = 8 inch square tin with brown paper and greaseproof paper.
2. Mix the dried fruit, nuts, ground almonds and orange and lemon zest. Add the whiskey and leave for 1 hour to macerate.
3. Meanwhile, make the almond paste. Sieve the sugar and mix with the ground almonds. Beat the eggs, add the whiskey and one drop of pure almond essence, then add to the other ingredients and mix to a stiff paste (you may not need to all the egg).
4. Sprinkle the work top with icing (confectioner's) sugar, turn out the almond paste and work lightly until smooth. Set aside.
5. Cream the butter until very soft, add the sugar, beat until light and fluffy.
6. Add the eggs bit by bit, beating well between each addition so that the mixture doesn't curdle.
7. Mix the spice with the flour and fold in gently.
8. Combine the grated apple and the fruit and stir gently but thoroughly into the cake mixture (don't beat again or you will toughen the cake).
9. Put half of the cake mixture into the prepared tin.
10. Roll out half the almond paste into a 21.5 cm = 8 1/2 inch round, place this on top of the cake mixture in the tin and cover with the remaining mixture. Make a slight hollow in the centre and dip your hand in water and pat it over the surface of the cake; this will ensure that the top is smooth when cooked.
11. Bake in a preheated 160 deg C = 325 deg F = gas3 oven for one hour, then reduce the heat to 150 deg C = 300 deg F = gas2 and bake for a further two hours, or until the cake is cooked (a skewer inserted in the centre should come out perfectly clean). Leave to cool in the tin.
12. Next day remove the cake from the tin. Do not remove the lining paper but wrap in some extra greaseproof paper and tinfoil until required.
13. When you are ready to ice the cake, roll two-thirds of the remaining almost paste into a 23 cm/9 inch round. Brush the cake with a little lightly beaten egg white and top with the paste.
14. Roll the remaining almond paste into eleven balls about the size of a large walnut. Score the top of the cake in 4 cm = 1 1/2 inch squares and brush with beaten egg or egg yolk. Stick the apostles' around the outer edge of the top and brush with beaten egg. Toast under a grill in a preheated 220 deg C = 425 deg F = gas7 oven, for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Protect the sides with tin foil.
15. Decorate with an Easter chicken. Darina Allen's note: This cake is usually only iced on top but we enjoy the toasted almond paste so much that we like to cover the sides also!

Simnel Cake Recipe
(The first recipe is from The Christian Year, A cookbook for Holy Days and Seasons; by the Women of St. Thomas of Canterbury, Anglican Catholic Church, Roanoke, Virginia.)
Simnel cakes are called such because of the fine flour (Latin "simila") they were made of. These cakes were baked and sold on Lenten Sundays in both England and France. The French always baked their cakes muffin-size and drew sugar crosses on the top. These were their equivalent of the English Hot Cross Bun.

In England, the simnel cake is especially associated with the fourth Sunday in Lent called Refreshment, Rose, or Mothering Sunday. That day was the older version of our own Mother's Day. Children of all ages were expected to pay a formal visit to their mothers and to bring a simnel cake as a gift. In return, the mothers gave their children a special blessing. This custom was so well-established that masters were required to give servants enough time off to visit out-of-town mothers - provided the trip did not exceed 5 days!

Simnel Cake
1 1/2 Cups butter
4 Cups flour
8 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 Cups sugar
2/3 Cup grated lemon and orange peel
2 Cups currants
8 oz. (or more) almond paste (for icing)
Mixing and Baking Directions
Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs singly, beating after each one. Sift and add flour and salt. Dust peel and currants with flour and add to batter. Line 12 in. x 15 in. greased pan with wax paper. Pour in 1/2 batter. Bake at 300 degrees for one hour.
May be iced if desired with almond paste (marzipan). (See How To Marzipan Your Cake)
Cut cake into small 1" squares as it is very rich. (Freezes well.)

Simnel Cake
The following recipe for Simnel Cake varies from the one above in that it has more fruit and spices. Some describe this as a rich plum cake enclosed in a hard dough crust, some say it is a currant cake, and some insist it has a marzipan frosting. There are probably as many variations of simnel cake as there are imaginative cooks who add a special "something" from their cupboard. The following recipe is delicious and very easy to make. Try making it to enjoy with your family and friends or to take to church and share at the coffee hour.
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 Cup softened butter
3/4 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup golden raisins
3/4 teaspoon currants
1 Cup chopped candied fruits such as cherries, pineapple slices
2 Tablespoons mixed candied fruit peel
3 eggs beaten lightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons brandy
Mixing and Baking Directions
Set the oven to 300 degrees. Mix raisins, currants, candied fruits, and candied peel with 1 tablespoon and set aside. Sift remaining flour, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light. Beat in eggs, brandy, and vanilla. A food processor or electric mixer may be used. Beat in flour mix gradually until just combined.
Add the fruit and peel mix to the batter and combine well. Turn the batter into a greased layer-cake pan and press down the surface with the back of a spoon to smooth. Bake 1 1/4 hours until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan and cool completely before frosting.

Beat 1/3 Cup softened butter until light.
Gradually beat in 3 1/2 Cups confectioner sugar until fluffy. Beat 2 teaspoons vanilla and about 3 Tablespoons milk until smooth.
If it seems too thick, add a little more milk.
(From A Lenten Companion, Molly Cochran McConnell, Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.)

Simnel Cake (Easter Fruitcake)
(Also known as an Almond Teacake) by Marguerite Johnson
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups butter
6 eggs
4-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound raisins
3/4 cup mixed candied fruits
1 teaspoon vanilla

Almond Topping and Filling:
1/2 pound almond paste
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 egg whites
Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour and salt to batter. Stir in raisins, fruits, vanilla and mix. Spread half the batter in a 9"x 9"x 2" pan, lined with waxed paper or foil. Blend almond paste, sugar and egg whites together and spread half over the cake batter. Cover with the rest of the batter and bake at 275 degrees F. for 2-1/2 hours until lightly browned. Remove from oven, spread the rest of the almond paste over the batter and bake a further 30 minutes until lightly browned. Slice 3/8 inch thick and cut into 2 inch pieces. Yields about 100 pieces.
Note: The name, Simnel, unfortunately has nothing to do with pretender Lambert Simnel. It came from Siminelllus, which was a Roman festive bread eaten during the Spring fertility rites. Marzipan balls were placed on top of the cake to represent the apostles, minus Judas Iscariot. This cake was originally used for the 4th Sunday in Lent, Mothering Sunday, when servant girls were given one day off to visit their mothers, and take them a cake. Marzipan balls and the top layer of almond paste can be glued/stuck to the top of the cake quite nicely by brushing the top of the cake with apricot jam.
Copyright 1997-1999 Richard III Society of Canada