During a recent visit to the Charleville WW11 Secret Base we discovered the story of the soldiers fruit cake and were inspired to learn more about this war time tradition.
With their loved ones scattered all over the country and world, holding together the front lines against enemy forces, the symbol of this simple fruit cake became one of love, hope and comfort. Wives and mothers all across Australia would bake their family fruit cake in what was known at the time as a Willow cake tin, bundle it up in calico and send it through the post to their solider.
History tells that many of these cake tins travelled hundreds of miles across Australia and the world, back and forth between the war and the safety of the soldier’s home town.
- 750g bag mixed fruit (or individual portions of currants, raisins, sultanas, Glaće cherries, dates, mixed peel etc)
- 125ml Brandy
- 250g butter
- 300g sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 375g flour
- Tsp baking powder
- Tsp mixed spice
- 100g flaked almonds
- Set up your Weber for indirect cooking at a low heat.
- Line a deep cake tin with greaseproof paper.
- Combine your dried fruit in a bowl and cover with Brandy. Leave or as long as desired (or overnight).
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
- Add sifted flour, baking powder and spice into butter and egg mixture. Mix well.
- Add Fruit mixture and nuts, stir well.
- Spoon cake mixture into prepared tin and bake for 3-4 hours on a very low heat.
- If you don’t want to use alcohol, apple juice works well in place of the Brandy.
- Once cooked, leave your cake to cool in the tin, wrap well in foil and store in an air-tight container.
- We found the lowest Weber heat setting was still cooking the cake too quickly, which resulted in a slight burning of the bottom and sides. To avoid this, wrap your cake tin in a couple of layers of foil to protect the bottom and sides during cooking.
Other Easy Camping Meals
- Lemon-Lime Coconut Slice
- Aussie Beer & Lemon Myrtle Damper
- Super Duper Summer Salad
- Damper on a Stick
- Nanny’s French Toast
- Weber Gingerbread Cookies
- Seafood Pasta
- Thai Style BBQ Fish
- Tasmanian Apple Crumble
- Seafood Sanagaki