Spiced squash and fruit loaf
Serves 8 | prep 30 mins | total time
- 250g mixed dried fruit
- 70g glacé cherries, halved
- 30g cut mixed peel
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 100ml cider (or cloudy apple juice)
- 125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 125g light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 150g plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g peeled and deseeded butternut squash, roughly grated
- 3 tbsp milk
For the icing
- 225g fondant icing sugar powder
- 1 tsp almond essence
- 2-2½ tbsp lemon juice
This cake keeps for at least a week, if stored in an airtight container. The uniced cake also freezes well.
- Mix together the mixed dried fruit, glacé cherries, cut mixed peel, lemon zest and cider (or apple juice) in a bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease a 900g (roughly 20cm x 10cm x 7cm-deep) loaf tin, then line it with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, muscovado sugar, mixed spice and ground cinnamon until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together into another bowl, mix, then beat into the butter mixture. Stir in the grated squash, followed by the cider-soaked fruit (including the cider) and the milk.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1¼ hours or until a sharp knife inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool in the tin.
- To ice the loaf, remove it from the tin and transfer it to a board or serving plate. Sift the fondant icing sugar powder into a bowl and beat in the almond essence and lemon juice – make sure you add the lemon juice gradually as you may not need all of it. Spoon the icing over the loaf; leave to set before slicing.