For six years, the fruitcake campaign by Chef Mynhardt has been the way for him and his the culinary team to do something tangible for vulnerable children in the community and deliver a message of hope.
All proceeds of the R450 benefit Butterfly House, a community resource centre in the Drakenstein District – aimed at creating a hopeful future, and Helpende Handjies in Montagu. Both NGO’s run feeding schemes for children, as part of their programmes.
KWV, Sasko, Moir’s, Montagu Snacks and Lactalis are on board for another year and with their continued support the team can bake 2 000 cakes this year, 800 more than previously.
Order online at www.mynhardt.co.za or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapp Cedrick 084 916 4506.
Mynhardt’s Festive Fruitcake Recipe
If you’d like to make the cake in your own home, this is the tried-and-tested recipe Mynhardt Joubert uses for his annual Festive Fruitcake Charity Drive. While quite effortless to make, the result is a rich, dark cake – the perfect blend of fruit and nuts in a cake batter with brown sugar and real butter at its base. Its shiny glacé cherries, nuts, plumped-up dried fruit, dates, golden sultanas and welcoming cinnamon represent the best of Christmas traditions.
Ideally the cake should be baked at least a month in advance for the flavours to develop. See the baking tips below for more fruitcake wisdom. It makes 1 x 25 cm cake.
- 250 ml water
- 310 ml soft brown sugar
- 1 kg Montagu fruit cake mix (dried fruit and nuts)
- 250 g Montagu dates, chopped
- 250 g Montagu golden sultanas, chopped
- 250 g roughly chopped cashew and macadamia nuts
- 7 ml Moir’s bicarbonate of soda
- 250 g Président butter
- 100 g Moir’s whole red glacé cherries
- 100 g Moir’s whole green glacé cherries
- 5 eggs beaten
- 20 ml Moir’s vanilla extract
- 125 ml KWV Brandy, plus extra for sprinkling
- 625 ml Sasko self-raising flour
- 5 ml salt
- 5 ml ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 120 °C with oven rack in the middle. Butter a deep 25 cm cake pan.
- Line the pan with 3 layers of baking paper and butter the inside again.
- Add the first 8 ingredients to a large saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool.
- Add the cherries.
- In a separate bowl combine the eggs, vanilla and brandy, then add it to the cooled fruit mixture. Add the flour, salt and cinnamon, mix well.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 2 hours. It’s done if a test skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean (it can be moist, but not doughy).
- Let the cake cool in the pan and turn it out on a cooling rack. Sprinkle the cake with brandy and place in an airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place.
- Brush the cake liberally with brandy once a week to keep it moist and deepen the flavours.
Mynhardt and Vytjie’s fruitcake wisdom:
The first rule of Mynhardt’s legendary fruitcake is to use quality ingredients, as each ingredient supports the other. “So don’t compromise, especially not with the butter,” he says.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the most royal of all celebration cakes:
How long ahead should I bake a fruitcake?
Who intends to bake a fruit cake and keep it for a decade? While it can last that long, you would want to make it ahead a few months or weeks. As the batter is dense and candied fruit and nuts don’t spoil, the cake will be shelf-stable for weeks, months even when properly wrapped and stored at room temperature. Then again, if you didn’t get round to baking it beforehand, a day or two will be okay.
How come some people don’t eat fruitcake?
It always come as a surprise when people say they have a love-hate relationship with fruitcake. Most likely they’ve only tasted shop-bought fruitcake made with cheap ingredients, inferior dried fruit and no love.
They might complain about overbearing spices. Using too much easily overpowers the fruit and nuts. Mixed spice contains cloves, allspice and nutmeg – rather go for the warmth and familiarity of cinnamon and vanilla. If you want some punch, get adventurous with the floral notes of cardamom, ginger, even caraway seeds.
Is it essential to soak the fruit overnight?
With Mynhardt’s method of simmering the mixed fruit and nuts for a few minutes it’s not necessary to soak the fruit overnight. Simmering, rather than soaking ensures an even more moist and flavourful cake.
How do I prevent the dried fruit and nuts from sinking to the bottom?
With this tried-and-tested recipe it’s unlikely to happen. When not using the boiling method, it’s recommended to lightly toss the fruit and nuts in cake flour before stirring it into the batter. This prevents it settling at the bottom.
Why are some fruitcakes so crumbly?
Most likely the balance of fruit to the cake batter is out of whack. Too much sugar can make a cake crumble when cut, while too little will make it dense – that’s why it’s essential to carefully measure the ingredients.
How to prevent fruitcake from burning?
- Baking a fruitcake is not a speed contest, so take your time with it. The fruit has a higher sugar content, which may burn easily if you’re not patient – rather go for a lower oven temperature, 120 °C at the most.
- Properly prepare your pans by lining all sides and bottom with 2-3 layers of baking paper or brown paper. Some experts even tie brown paper or newspaper on the outside of the tin for extra precaution, but if you bake it at 120°C it’s not necessary.
- Although the cake doesn’t rise much, only fill the pan 2/3 for more even baking.
- Ovens may differ – so if a testing skewer still comes out doughy, lightly cover the cake with foil or baking paper to prevent drying out or browning too quickly, and bake a little longer. Make a small, coin size hole in the middle to allow the steam to escape.
- Placing a bowl of water on the oven floor will also help to keep the cake tender and moist.
Why ripen a fruitcake?
- Ripening/maturing the cake improves the taste and texture. This shouldn’t stress you out at all – just keep it well-wrapped and feed it with brandy or dessert wine now and then. For a rich, mature fruitcake feed it once a week, ideally for at least a month, 3 months for its full potential.
- If you didn’t get around to baking it in advance, it’s perfectly okay to do so a day or two before and serve it fresh.
- If you don’t use alcohol, feed the cake with your favourite fruit juice (orange juice works well).
How should I store fruitcake?
- To keep it moist, wrap in baking paper, then in clingwrap and place in an air-tight container in a dry place, away from direct light. Usually well-wrapped fruitcake doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It will last up to 6 months in a fridge or up to a year in the freezer. Keep in mind that the flavours won’t develop in the fridge or freezer, so rather ripen at room temperature for a few weeks beforehand.
- Rather not wrap it directly in foil as the fruit acids can corrode the foil and effect the flavour of the cake.
How to cut a fruitcake without crumbling?
Mynhardt bakes his fruitcake in a square tin, which is easier to cut in even-portioned slices. Use a sharp serrated knife to first cut long slices; then in shorter pieces. Avoid pushing the knife down which will crush the fruit; and always cut through. Wipe the blade clean with a wet cloth between cuts. Wrap the rest of the cake well before storing.
If you’d rather have the professionals bake the cake while also supporting a worthy cause, you can place your order online at www.mynhardt.co.za or e-mail to email@example.com or whatsapp Cedrick 084 916 4506.