I’ve been baking again. My excuse is not that we really need to have a piece of cake with our regular afternoon cuppa but that we like to be able to offer visitors something homemade with theirs. However, we do feel that we should test whatever comes out of the oven since, after all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
We discovered this at a friend’s house, one who has no need for excuses to bake, and has an appreciative husband only too willing to play Food-Tester-in-Chief. It’s a very useful recipe, very simple and easy to remember, and extremely valuable if you discover you have run out of eggs and fat. It has only 5 ingredients, and just one cupful of each produces enough mixture to nicely fill a medium loaf tin. If you want more, you only have to be sure that you are using an equal volume of each ingredient (for British cooks, please note: volume, not weight!).
Make it in secret, wrap it up tightly in greaseproof paper, and hide it away in an airtight tin for at least a week. That gives the dried fruit the chance to develop its full aroma and thoroughly “moisturise” the loaf. If you are partial to things like bara brith and malt loaf, you’ll enjoy this.
1 cup each of All-bran, Milk, Mixed dried fruit, Self-raising flour, Sugar (brown or white) and a pinch of salt.
Put the All-bran, mixed fruit and sugar into a good-sized mixing bowl and pour the milk over with a pinch of salt.
Leave it to stand for at least an hour – it really doesn’t matter if you forget all about it and leave it overnight, but probably not longer than that.
Preheat the oven to about 150°C (gas mark 3-4), fold in the flour and mix thoroughly.
Pour into a well-greased loaf tin (I line mine with greaseproof paper, as I never trust things not to stick) and bake for about 2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
Let it cool in the tin, and when it’s cold, turn it out and wrap it tightly as described above.
I am told it will keep for months, but haven’t been able to test the accuracy of that since none of those I have made have had a chance once they were taken out of their wrapping. But it definitely does improve with keeping and I would think it’s at its best after a couple of weeks of hibernation.
To serve, cut fairly thin slices and butter them lavishly with no guilty feelings, as the actual loaf contains no fat (especially if you made it with skimmed milk).