The first Christmas cake I made was a total disaster. When I cut into it I discovered that it was still raw in the middle and totally inedible. I’d only been married a few months so of course the first thing I did was ring my Mum to find out what could be salvaged. Mum calmly told me not to panic, to put the cake in a mixing bowl, squash it all up and then pour in a cup of cold tea. Once it was all mixed through to then put it in a pudding bowl and cook it like a Christmas pudding and lo and behold it worked.
When I found this old recipe in Mum’s collection it reminded me so much of that cake/pudding disaster. I’ve always thought it was a marvellous trick that Mum knew and I think this old Fruit Loaf recipe gives a hint of where she got the idea from.