Aunty Doff’s Easy Weet-Bix Fruit Cake

“Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love.” ~ Giada De Laurentiis

 

I was given this recipe by Aunty Doff, who was my Nana’s beloved sister. We stayed at her home on the Central Coast of NSW once when I was in primary school and she made this cake to welcome our Dad and us after a long drive. Of course, I asked for the recipe! This is a terrific simple bar loaf and I made it countless times during my school and university days. It could be whipped up for afternoon tea, and have enough left for our lunchboxes the next day. Better yet it’s the kind of cake that is pulled together from humble pantry staples.

There’s nothing fancy about this cake, but it is moist and flavoursome and easy for kids to whip up on their own. You just need a large bowl and wooden spoon, some boiling water and an oven.

Don’t be afraid to substitute the fruit for whatever dried varieties you have to hand. I’ve also used drained canned fruits such as pie apples, apricots, peaches and two fruits chopped into pieces and that’s delicious too. If you use canned fruit feel free to substitute half the boiling water for the juice from the can for extra flavour.

if you want to add chocolate chips or nuts to your cake add them at the end of making the batter so they don’t go soggy.

This cake is great on its own, served warm with ice-cream or yoghurt as a simple dessert, or served cold and spread with butter. It will keep well if stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about five days. If using canned fruit in your cake keep the cooked cake in the fridge. Enjoy!

The Heppell Family, early 1940s, Sydney. Dorothy (Aunty Doff) is 2nd from the left, and Joyce (my Nana) is on the far right.

Weet-Bix Maths

*If you’ve only got Weet-Bix crumbs don’t let them go to waste. One Weet-Bix biscuit crumbled is about 1/3 cup. So 1 and 1/3 cups is equivalent to 4 Weet-Bix, or about 65 grams. If you don’t have Weet-Bix substitute a similar breakfast cereal. I’ve used Sultana Flakes and also All-Bran with good results.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 Weet-Bix, crushed (*See note above)
  • 1 cup of raw sugar (I often use half a cup, and yes you can use plain sugar or brown sugar or you favourite sugar substitute too)
  • 1 cup of mixed fruit, chopped into small pieces if fruit size is large. For today’s cake I used a mixture of sultanas, dried apricots and dates.
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter (60 grams)
  • 1 cup boiling water (250 ml)
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional – your choice of 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or seeds for top of cake. Today I used Walnuts and Sunflower Seeds

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).
  2. Place the Weet-Bix, fruit, butter, sugar and boiling water in a large bowl. Mix well and stand for five minutes.
  3. While the Weet-Bix softens line a Bar Tin (8cm x 25cm) or cake tin of your choice with baking paper. Don’t get too fancy. No-one ever died from having an imperfectly lined tin!
  4. Add all other ingredients to your wet ingredients and stir well.
  5. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan. Using a wet hand pat the mixture into the corners of the tin and flatten it gently so that the batter is evenly distributed. If you are using nuts or seeds sprinkle them onto the cake and press them in lightly with a clean hand.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed or a skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cooking time will vary depending on what size tin you use, and what kind of fruit and flour you choose.
  7. Cool for five minutes and then remove from tin and place on rack to cool.
  8. Enjoy eating your delicious cake, courtesy of Aunty Doff’s great recipe!

Look below for the step-by-step pictures…