This beautiful and colourful light fruit cake is the perfect accompaniment for tea or coffee and is really easy to put together.
Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you begin.
Preheat oven at 170C. Grease the line of the loaf pan, then dust it with flour. Recommended size is a 9x5x3 inch pan.
Remove 1 tbsp. from the flour and sprinkle it over the dried fruits and mix. This will help ensure that they do not sink to the bottom of the back during baking. Set aside.
Add the vanilla essence in the milk. Set aside.
Sieve/sift the rest of the flour with the baking powder and salt. Then add the powdered almonds and still well. Set aside.
Beat the butter/margarine with the powdered sugar in a big bowl until light and fluffy. Be sure to beat them well because this cake requires very little baking powder so this stage is crucial in ensuring you have a light and fluffy cake.
Once the butter and sugar are light and creamy, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. The mixture will appear curdled but do not worry about that, it will smoothen out when the flour is added later.
Add the flour and milk/vanilla in three installments, combining gently between each addition, starting with the flour, then the milk and ending with the flour again. Make sure not to over mix the batter at this stage.
Finally add the dried fruits and chopped cherries and gently stir them in with a spatula. Pour this batter into your prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the almond flakes over the cake and then bake in the preheated oven at 170C for about 45 minutes to an hour or until skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. During baking, if you find that the top is colouring too quickly you can cover the cake lightly with a piece of foil midway through baking.
Place the loaf pan on a wire to coll slightly and then turn the cake out of the pan and allow it to cool completeley before slicing. The loaf will keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 days, and longer if refrigerated.