Festive Fruit and Nut Cake and…Morning Drama

Do you all have morning drama?  We have it in spades.

This morning Arabella had a very important interview.  She had to be in the city and ready for her appointment by 9.30am.  That shouldn’t be a challenge.  But when she woke, first she had to go out for a takeaway coffee and then she was hungry so she ate Alfie’s left over ravioli from the night before.  ‘Not having muesli this morning?’

‘I like pasta’.  Fine then.

Full of pretty colours

Full of pretty colours

‘And mum, can you just help me with what I have to say.  I’ve written some things down.  What do you think of this…’  And she started reading out practise answers to imagined questions and meanwhile I was watching the clock and starting to get slightly itchy about how I still needed to have a shower and get dressed and be ready to walk Alfie to school on time.

Pretty ingredients

Pretty ingredients

The question and answer time came to an abrupt stop with Arabella realising she only had 20-minutes remaining to make it to the bus.  She flew down the hall and into the bathroom where minutes later she emerged showered but naked.  ‘Mum, what should I wear?’

‘Haven’t you sorted an outfit?’

‘I’m looking for my black top.  Have you seen it?’

‘I wouldn’t know where it is.  Wear that new white blouse, it looks really smart’.

‘It’s dirty’.  So I went up the hall to my bedroom and pulled out my own, newly dry-cleaned dress.

‘Wear this’, I said, handing it to her.

‘I don’t like that dress.  It’s okay on you but it’s not for me’.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

‘Arabella, you’ll look neat, tidy, sophisticated, clean and professional which ticks every interview box.  You don’t have time to mess about in your wardrobe; just wear the dress’.  And she reluctantly put it on.

‘You look great.  It’s perfect, now hurry to the bus because you don’t want to miss the bus’.

‘I won’t make the bus; I’m too late.  Can you give me a lift to the city?’  It just rolls off the tongue.

‘Arabella, you know I don’t have a car; remember the whipper-snipper?  Of course I can’t drive you to the city’.

‘Fine, I’ll call a taxi’.  And off she went with me yelling out things like, ‘They’ll love you’, and ‘Just be enthusiastic’, and ‘Sit up straight’, and ‘Don’t fiddle with your hair’.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Then Archie came down.  He had to be in the city for an audition.  ‘Mum, I’ve got to get to Chippendale; can I take your car?’  Am I the only one who remembers a whipper-snipper hurling a rock at record-breaking spread through the rear passenger window of my car?

‘Archie, I’ve got one word; whipper-snipper’.  Realisation set in.

‘Isn’t it fixed?  How long’s that going to take?’

‘No idea’.  And then I looked at his face.  ‘Are you going to your audition with that moustache?’

‘Mum, I’ve spoken to my agent and he’s saying it’s fine.  I’m playing someone obnoxious so he thinks the mo probably suits the character’.  That’s a shame.

Hardly any flour in this cake

Hardly any flour in this cake

And as he hurtled out the door, Alfie looked at me and said, ‘Am I going to be late to school?  Again?’

I try; I really do try.

An excellent hostess gift

An excellent hostess gift

Here’s a great Christmas baking recipe for the time-challenged.  This cake from the Australian Women’s Weekly is really simple to make.  It requires no week-long soaking of fruit, it only takes about 20-minutes to make and it doesn’t need to be iced or decorated.  It is however, full of Christmas colour and flavour mixing the traditional ingredients of nuts, glace and dried fruits, and of course, rum.

A Christmas Eve favourite

A Christmas Eve favourite

5.0 from 2 reviews
Festive Fruit and Nut Cake and...Morning Drama
Recipe type: Cakes
Cuisine: Christmas Cooking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
A festive fruit and nut cake with all the colours and flavours of Christmas.
  • ½ cup (115g) coarsely chopped glace pineapple
  • ½ cup (125g) coarsely chopped glace apricots
  • 1½ cups (250g) seeded dried dates
  • ½ cup (110g) red glace cherries
  • ½ cup (110g) green glace cherries
  • 1 cup (170g) brazil nuts
  • ½ cup (75g) macadamia nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (110g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbspn dark rum
  • 110g butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup (50g) plain flour or GF flour
  • ¼ cup (35g) self-raising flour or SR GF flour
  • Fruit and Nut Topping:
  • ⅓ cup (75g) coarsely chopped glace pineapple
  • ¼ cup (55g) red glace cherries, halved
  • ¼ cup (55g) green glace cherries, halved
  • ¼ cup (40g) brazil nuts
  • ¼ cup (35g) macadamia nuts
  • Toffee Topping:
  • ½ cup (110g) caster sugar
  • ¼ cup (60mls) water
  1. Preheat oven to 140C/275F.
  2. Grease 20cm-ring pan or 2 x 8cm x 26cm bar cake pans. Line bases and sides with baking paper, extending paper 5cm above long sides.
  3. Combine fuit and nuts in a large bowl.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until thick. Add rum, butter and sifted flours; beat until just combined. Stir egg mixture into fruit mixture. Press mixture firmly into prepared pan.
  5. Make fruit and nut topping. Gently press topping evenly over cake mixture; bake, covered, in slow oven 1 hour (for both ring tin and bar cake pans). Uncover, bake in slow oven for 45 minutes (ring tin) or 30 minutes for bar cake pans. Remove from oven and stand cake in pans 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the toffee topping. Turn cake, top-side up, onto wire rack; drizzle with toffee topping.
  7. Fruit and nut topping:
  8. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl.
  9. Toffee Topping:
  10. Combine ingredients in small saucepan, stir over heat without boiling until sugar dissolves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, without stirring, about 10 minutes or until mixture is golden. Remove from heat; stand until bubbles subside before using.
  11. Combine
Festive fruit and nut cake

Festive fruit and nut cake

Store covered in the fridge as it will keep and slice better.

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  1. Oh my lots of fun at your house charlie

  2. Where did the rest of my comment go?:). I was saying the cake looks good just like a Tiffany cake

  3. Love how this fruit cake is full of nuts. A bit like your place in the morning, it seems! 🙂 You do well to maintain some order amongst the chaos!

  4. Oh dear! Well you do your best but at least Alfie doesn’t present with too many dramas. I was hoping to see the dress too! 😉

  5. beautiful cakes – but your morning sounds trying – when do kids stop thinking that everything happens automatically – I had hoped it would only be a few years away but you make me despair of it ever happening 🙂

  6. Hi Charlie, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I always love hearing about your family stories! I think you must have incredible patience to handle all the morning drama! Your cake looks beautifully colourful and glossy, very Christmassy 🙂

  7. You are going to be lost when your two eldest leave home Charlie.
    What a heavenly festive cake – would get through that very quickly in our family.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  8. It’s all this drama that keeps us young, Charlie! It does worry me however, how are they going to survive on their own?
    Love the fruit and nut slice! Looks delicious and festive!


  9. I know I shouldn’t laugh, Charlie, but I’d give anything right now to have your drama, or even have my three kids back in my home. Cherish what you have, drama and all.

  10. First, your bread is gorgeous! My grandma used to make those every year and I would wrinkle my nose at them. Now they look delicious and beautiful…which must mean I’m getting up in years. Ha!

    Secondly, I’m going to say something I never thought I’d say…I really miss those years of hectic mornings and kids living in the house!

  11. Tonette Joyce says:

    Arabella is one confident young lady, not to have an outfit ready! And Alfie with his moustache.You have done a great job instilling skills into those kids,Charlie.
    And the cake is gorgeous.

  12. I have to admit Charlie, that I do not miss morning dramas! The blessing of an empty nest 🙂 And I love fruitcake – it has a bad rep I know, but I have always loved it – thanks for this quick recipe!

  13. You really do have a lot of drama in your life. But it’s so much fun to read about! So glad you share. And so glad you shared this recipe — this looks terrific. I’d put up with a fair amount of drama to get some of that. 🙂

  14. Oh, gorgeous cake – Charlie.

  15. I had a giggle at your story! I’m not looking forward to morning drama! Your cake looks delicious! I’m going to make it for my mum, she loves glace fruit.

  16. Your kids really need you. I hope she and he got the jobs.
    My kids are similar, but still rely on me to organise and take them everywhere. I was thinking the other day, when they are out on their own I am actually going to miss the chaos.

  17. You can’t say it’s not interesting, Charlie! Did Arabella get the job? Did Archie get the acting part? 🙂

  18. PS. It would be remiss of me not to mention again how delicious this cake was! Thanks again love! xxx

  19. Are you ever tempted just to leave the two grown ups to their own devices while you take Alfie to school? You have the patience of a saint. 🙂

    The fruit and nut ‘roll’ is lovely.

  20. Oh, Charlie, I feel for you and poor Alfie. I can almost hear his sigh.

    Do you know that there is a similar recipe in AWW Celebration Cookbook (an oldie) which uses ground almonds and honey, but no sugar?

    • Thanks for letting me know, Carmen – I have that cookbook so I’ll look it up. I’m sure this recipe would definitely work being sugar-free and honey would add lovely flavour to this cake.

  21. G’day Your cake looks great Charlie and am sure it is enjoyed when things are quiet and over a lovely cup of tea or coffee! Wish I could come through the screen and try some now!
    Cheers! Joanne

  22. You are so funny Charlie, I don’t know if I would be able to handle all the dramas…especially in the morning.
    I have never baked fruit cakes, your sure looks pretty.
    Hope you have a great rest of the week 🙂

  23. Love the morning drama… maybe the cake isn’t for me as I really don’t like glade’ fruit… I have tried because it always looks so nice, but I just can’t 🙂 I hope your car and your computer get better soon! 🙂 Liz x

  24. I will love making this cake. The morning drama, not so much. I don’t miss all that. 🙂

  25. Sounds like the days when my two children still lived at home… daughters can be difficult sometimes! It will pass. Or maybe not. Love the cake, though!

  26. Oh Charlie. I hope the car has a speedy recovery. How did the audition go?

  27. I’m feeling so much better about my mornings now….:) But I always remind myself how boring my life would be without their drama!

    This is so very pretty…and quick for those of us who didn’t start the soaking process!!

  28. I’m almost glad, briefly, your car is out of action so your older children can realise it isn’t at their beck and call! That is quite mean though, and I do hope the interview and audition both went well. This cake looks delicious too, and jam packed full of good things.

  29. Love the stained glass cake, charlie – it looks gorgeous.
    Hate those morning dramas with kids & am very glad that the fact that all have finished school now cuts one avenue for it off. Still, they can always find a way to press our buttons.

  30. How I don’t miss those mornings! Glorious cake!

  31. Life is never dull at your house! But your yummy fruitcake would certainly take the edge off!! xo

  32. What a morning indeed. Too bad Arabella hasn’t learned to get it together by now. Good thing she’s got the money for a cab, no way we could have done that back then.
    What a gorgeous fruit cake, I haven’t started my Christmas baking yet, I’ve been focussing on catering for my company Christmas party (16 people, four are vegans and vegetarians). I’ll start next Sunday, after the party.

  33. Well I am never on time to work, so I can empathize, though it is wholly my own fault since I have no one around to bother me!

  34. Maybe you should be without a car a little more often Charlie, the Uni students will soon catch on 🙂 Your cake is gorgeous sweetie, so pretty indeed! Xox

  35. Hi Charlie, your posts are always so funny and riveting, I forgot what life was like with kids, believe it or not I really miss it.

  36. Your gorgeous fruit cake I’m sure helped to ameliorate morning dramas. Thank you for sharing the time-saving Christmas yumminess =)

  37. Wow this makes me wonder if we cause issues for my mum as well to that degree – hope now!
    On a nicer note, I adore your fruit and nut cake, I would literally sink into it!

    Choc Chip Uru

  38. Jeanette Pennels says:

    Hi I am wondering whether you have a source for glacé fruit as suggested in your recipe. Here in Brisbane we have been told the one manufacturer has closed down and it is no longer available.

    My daughter has in the past made vast quantities of stained glass window fruit cakes but this year was unable to purchase the fruit. Any help you can give us would be much appreciated.

    Sincerely Jeanette Pennels

    • Hi Jeanette, I’m so sorry for the delay in my reply. Yes, it’s tricky sourcing glace fruit and it seems to get harder every year. I have found cherries in Harris Farm and the glace apricots and pineapple I’ve been able to find in health food stores. I hope you’re able to find what you need in time for Christmas.

  39. Your family dramas entertain all of us. More entertaining to your readers than to you at times, I suspect. I love your humor about them though. The cake looks great.

  40. And here I was thinking my mornings were hectic!!! Charlie – am hoping y’all will look back at these days -one day in the future – and be able to laugh! 🙂
    How did Arabella do at her interview? And Archie at his part?
    Btw – I adore fruit cake like this with hardly any flour – yum!

  41. A great read,…Poor you! What would they do without you, Hey?
    A tasty recipe,..it is new to me! Yum!

  42. Charlie, I’m sharing a link to this gorgeous cake on my favourites round up this week xo

  43. hi Charlie, sounds like a crazy morning to me. Crazy but wonderful. Your fruit cake is gorgeous, love all the goodies in it.


  1. […] Arabella came home from the interview fearing the worst.  She was applying to a university to study a combined law degree and as well as […]

  2. […] 8:  Festive Fruit and Nut Cake – really easy to make.  You barely need to do any chopping; most ingredients are added […]

  3. […] my kitchen I have glace fruits and nuts sitting in a bowl.  This is the first step in making festive fruit and nut cakes.  Usually you just make one cake in a ring-tin but another option is to put the cake mix into two […]

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