07 December 2007

American Version - The Fruit Cake

Both of these fruit cakes avoid the candied fruits that so many people don't like. Soak the dried fruits in liquor before adding to the batter. Cakes made now and "watered" with your selected liquor between now and Christmas, are wonderful

Cake Number 1

Notes: Bake this cake at least 1 day or up to 2 months ahead; cool and wrap in cheesecloth or a thin towel saturated with orange-flavor liqueur. Chill airtight, and about every 10 days, moisten cloth with more liqueur. Serve thin slices of cake plain, with vanilla ice cream topped with rum-plumped raisins, or with rum-raisin ice cream. Wrap and continue to age extra cake.

About 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pound (2 2/3 cups) dried apricots
1/2 pound (2 cups) pecan halves
1/2 pound dried lightly sweetened pineapple
1/2 pound (2 cups) dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 pound (2 cups) dried cherries or blueberries
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur

1. Lightly butter a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan. Line with cooking parchment.
2. In a bowl with a mixer, beat 1 cup butter with sugar until fluffy.

3. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended. Beat in molasses.

4. Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and allspice. Add to egg mixture; beat just until blended.

5. Set aside 6 to 8 apricots, 10 to 12 pecan halves, and 1 pineapple ring.

6. Cut remaining pineapple into 3/4-inch pieces and add to batter along with the remaining apricots and pecans and the cranberries and cherries. Stir until well mixed.

7. Scrape batter into parchment-lined pan, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; spread top level.

8. Bake in a 275° oven until cake is firm in center when touched, about 3 hours. If it browns too rapidly, drape with foil.

9. Cool in pan on rack at least 2 1/2 hours. Lift out cake; peel off parchment.

10. Mix apricot jam with liqueur and brush over top of cake. Decoratively arrange reserved apricots, pecans, and pineapple in apricot glaze; brush more apricot jam mixture over fruit. Wrap airtight and chill at least 1 day.

Fruit Cake #2

1 cup diced candied orange peel
1 cup diced candied lemon peel
1 cup diced citron
1 cup diced dried apples
1 cup currants
1 cups raisins, chopped
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup brandy
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup molasses

Mix the fruit in a large bowl with the wine and brandy. Stir gently and set aside to marinate for a few hours.

Butter two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and line them with clean parchment paper. Butter the paper.
Sift the flour with the spices twice.
Add the baking powder and salt and sift again.

Put the butter into a large mixing bowl and cream until smooth. Add sugar; using an electric mixer, cream until light and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks slightly and then add them to the bowl. Mix the batter well before you start to add the flour-spice mixture. Stir the batter as you add the flour, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the flour is thoroughly incorporated, add the molasses and stir. Finally, stir in the fruit, along with any soaking liquid left in the bowl.

Put the egg whites in a stainless steel or glass bowl and beat with a clean beater to stiff peaks. Fold them into the batter thoroughly and then spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Cover loosely with a clean cloth and let the batter sit overnight in a cool place to mellow.

On the next day, heat the oven to 250°. Place the fruitcake on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. After 1 1/2 hours, cover the pan with a piece of brown paper (do not use foil) or set the pan in a paper bag and return it to the oven.

When the cake has baked for 3 1/2 hours, test the with a toothpick or cake tester. If the tester comes out of the center of the cake clean, the cake is done. Leave the cake in the pan and set on wire rack to cool.

When the cakes are completely cooled, turn out of the pans, leaving the brown-paper lining on the cake. Wrap the cake with parchment, then foil, and pack the cake in a tin. Homemade fruitcakes need air, so punch a few holes in the lid of the tin or set the cover loosely on the tin.

Set the tin in a cool, undisturbed place, and every two days before Christmas, open the foil and sprinkle the cake with a small glassful of brandy, wine, or bourbon. The liquor will keep the cake most and flavorful and help preserve it as well.


Matt-Man said...

I dont mind fruitcake as long as I have a big tub of Cool-Whip handy. Cheers Jamie!!

lisa said...

I have never had it! Is it good? really?

Jamie said...

As with any dessert, it is a matter of taste, but if you like spice cakes, gingerbread etc. you will like either one of these cakes. They have a rich and spicy heavy texture and if cooked far enough in advance a heady aroma from the liquor.

If like them, but #1 is my favorite because of all the dried fruit.

Linda said...

There are worse things in the world than fruitcake but I don't make them because of the cost involved. I made a "white" fruitcake once many years ago that was very, very good - wish I could find the recipe for it but I'm afraid it's long gone.

Travis said...

I think fruitcake is the only CAKE I can't eat. The idea of it makes me gag.

D.K. Raed said...

I have to admit your fruitcakes sound delish. I think a lot of people are turned off after enduring years of Aunt Nellie's rockhard jawbreakers. hmmm, that rum-raisin ice cream sounds even better!

lisa said...

I came back for the recipe, I'm going to give it a shot!