There was a very loud knock on our front door, and a lanky, grey-haired man, red-faced and bare foot shoved a bunch of spinach at me, and said, “You eat spinach?” “Why, uh yes! Thank you” I stammered, as he turned and hurried back to the safety of his house. This was my first meeting of our neighbour, Wayne. It was probably another twelve months before I finally met his lovely wife, Maureen. Since then, we’ve had more visits at the front door with more of their garden bounty and long chats in the driveway (our driveways are adjacent, with no more than a strip of garden to separate them).


It’s the country style of friendship, generosity and lending a hand that has taken us literally by surprise. For instance, one weekend when Alex was struggling to fix a leaking tap, and water was gushing everywhere from a broken pipe, I stepped out the front to turn off the water meter and Wayne (who is forever working on his car) asked what was wrong. Once I had explained the problem, he ducked into his shed and next thing he was over with a wrench, a replacement tap and washer and had the problem fixed in a jiffy. When I went to thank him, he had already disappeared back home!


As you can see, it’s about time we restored the balance and gave something back. I know Maureen is an accomplished cook, because she was given us some of her home cooked plum jam. But there has to be some way of giving back and considering their age (60+) and the fact Maureen makes her own fruit cakes, I knew they would enjoy this one. Taken from one of my most trusted cookbooks, this boiled fruit cake is a staple in our family. I’ve mentioned before that it is my dad’s signature dish. He has been making it for years now, often for church lunches or as gifts at Christmas time.


It’s a keeper.


Boiled Pineapple Fruit cake

440g tin crushed pineapple in juice
125g unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
500g mixed dried fruit
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb soda)
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Sherry (optional)
Flaked almonds for decoration (optional)

Grease a deep 20cm (8-inch) round cake tin with non-stick cooking spray and line base and sides with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180degC/350degF.

Drain pineapple and place pulp in saucepan with ½ cup of the juice. Add butter, sugar, fruit, spice and baking soda. Bring to the boil and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in a tablespoon of sherry (or brandy) and set aside to cool.

Sift flours together and stir into mixture with the beaten eggs and vanilla essence. Spread into prepared tin and bake for 1 ½ hours. Stand 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool.

Taken from ‘Cooking Made Simple for Home & Camp’ and adapted slightly from

Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #redhotcentre!

7 thoughts on “Boiled Pineapple Fruit Cake”

  1. This is a great basic recipe too. I have used it to use up various old fruit, like dates, or figs, and any nuts can be thrown in as well. Cranberries, glace cherries. I don’t drain the pineapple either.

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