Sophie Hansen: Gran’s tasty cinnamon, brandy, and nut cake

The Nightly
2 Min Read
Gran’s tasty cinnamon, brandy, and nut cake.
Gran’s tasty cinnamon, brandy, and nut cake. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Food writer Sophie Hansen calls it the easiest cake to make.

“My grandmother was right,” says Ms Hansen.

“It is easy — almost entirely made in one saucepan and with just one wooden spoon. But it’s also wonderfully delicious (especially with a sharp cheddar and sliced apples — trust me) and lasts for ages.

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“I’ve made a few adjustments over the years, adding the nuts and soaking the fruit in brandy, which makes it feel a bit more decadent, but you could leave these steps out, and it would still be great.”

“Once cooled and wrapped tightly in foil, there’s not much you can do to spoil this cake. It travels beautifully and lasts for days.

“Gran didn’t specify which fruit to use, but I like a mixture of dried chopped apricots, figs and cranberries, plus some un-crystallised ginger. Just sultanas would also be great.”

Gran’s tasty cinnamon, brandy, and nut cake.
Gran’s tasty cinnamon, brandy, and nut cake. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Cinnamon, brandy, and nut cake

Prep time: 10 mins, plus soaking and cooling

Cook time: 1 hour 15 mins

Serves: 8


1/2 cup (125 ml) brandy

1 1/2 cups (280 g) mixed dried fruit (see note)

½ cup (125 g) butter, cubed

3/4 cup (165 g) brown sugar

2 tablespoons treacle, or honey

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (75g) hazelnuts

1/2cup (70g) walnuts, ideally dry-toasted in the oven and roughly chopped

3/4 cup (165 g) un-crystallised ginger, finely chopped

1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 cup (150g) self-raising flour


Step 1 - Warm the brandy in a saucepan until just simmering.

STEP 2 - Remove from the heat and add the dried fruit. Leave to plump up for at least 30 minutes.

STEP 3 - To your soaked dried fruit, add the butter, sugar, treacle, spices, bicarbonate of soda and 1/2 cup (125ml) water. Bring to the boil over medium–high heat, stirring as you go. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

STEP 4 - Grease and line a 22–24 cm cake tin with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.

STEP 5 - Add the eggs and mix to combine. Fold in the hazelnuts, walnuts, ginger and flours, and a pinch of salt.

STEP 6 - Pour into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before gently removing from the tin.

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The front page of The Nightly for 19-04-2024

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