Nollaig na mBán (Women’s Christmas) was, and still is, a day for women to relax after the busy festive period. Traditionally, women would have met up in each other’s homes and enjoyed an afternoon of tea, cake and chats – a typical cake being a fruit cake.
To celebrate Nollaig na mBán I like to make this lovely, light fruit cake. It’s just like a Madeira cake with the addition of dried fruit and a splash of a tipple.
This cake typically doesn’t last very long in my house – that speaks for itself.
Hope you enjoy.
6oz caster sugar
Zest & juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp brandy
1 tbsp limoncello
9oz self-raising flour
3 good handfuls of dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, cranberries, cherries, etc)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
Cream together the margarine, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, limoncello and brandy.
Coat the fruit in 2 tbsp of the flour to help stop it sinking.
Fold in the remaining flour followed by the flour-coated fruit
Transfer to the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin and dusting with icing sugar.