I am calling this recipe Cold Porridge Cake but actually it’s only got a few tablespoons in. It’s really more of a boozy fruit cake. Anyway it’s nice. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and reduce the (expensive and unhealthy) sugary breakfast cereals that we seem to be eating as a family. So I have been soaking oats in milk overnight (600ml milk to 150g rolled oats, for 4 people) and then heating it up in the morning for a few minutes. Voila! Porridge with a range of toppings such as ground cinnamon/cardamom/mace, raisins, dried fruit, chopped nuts, sliced banana, honey, maple syrup and/or jam.
I had a small bowlful left over, so, on a whim, decided to add it to my usual fruit cake mix (yes, I am still using up the booze in our house by cooking with it, mostly in fruitcakes). But there are many other uses for cold porridge. Mostly just eat it chilled with double cream and brown sugar/honey, or heat it with some frozen blueberries in the microwave with (again) honey or sugar. Or add to a pasta bake for bulk. Ditto a soup, to thicken it. Or a stew, again to make it go further, instead of traditional barley or pulses.
Cold Porridge Cake
Ingredients: (makes 8-10 slices)
- 500g bag mixed dried fruit
- 250ml whisky/port/rum/sherry or half-and-half spirit with red or white wine
- 125g marj or butter (I use Benecol buttery)
- 125g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2-1 tsp each cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground mace, ground nutmeg (any or none to taste, but don’t overdo the mace – it’s lemony and quite medicinal-tasting)
- 175g flour (I use gluten free)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g chopped buts or flaked almonds
- 2-3 tablespoons leftover cold porridge
- 24-48 hrs before you want the cake, soak the dried fruit in the booze, in a measuring jug or bowl, in the fridge. This plumps up the fruit and stops it leeching moisture out of your cake, when it bakes.
- Cream the marj/butter together with the sugar with an electric whisk or a wooden spoon.
- Add the eggs and vanilla/spices (if using) and mix well.
- Add the flour and baking powder, then tip in the boozy fruit, nuts and porridge, and mix again lightly (so as not to shred/mash the fruit).
- Tip into a greaseproof-lined 1kg loaf tin or round loose-bottomed springform cake tin, and bake 50 minutes at 160 degrees celsius (lower than for a sponge but it’s a heavier cake so needs slower, cooler cooking).
- Leave to cool, then slice and serve with low fat yoghurt, creme fraiche, custard or cream.Or have it with cheddar cheese and/or apple, as an afternoon treat or dessert.