You may have heard the phrase “nuttier than a fruit cake”. This comes from the days when fruit cakes actually contained a large portion of nuts. This recipe is something of a hybrid and adaptation of several of my favorite. I’ve made them many ways, but this one came out the best.
- 10″ loaf pan
- Microplane or fine cheese grater
- Medium saucepan
- 1 c. golden raisins
- 1 c. dried apricots
- 1/2 c. dried cranberries
- 1/2 c. dried blueberries
- 1/2 c. dried cherries
- 1/2 c. dried fruit of your choice (I prefer either dates or pineapple) chopped
- 1/4 c. candied ginger
- Zests of a whole orange and a lemon
- 1 c. rum or brandy
- 1 cup cider or cran-apple juice
- 1 c. light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 (5/8c) stick unsalted butter
- 4 whole cloves, ground
- 6 allspice berries, ground
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- Optional spices 1/4 tsp each (anise, fennel, cardamom)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 c. flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c chopped walnuts
- 1/4 c chopped pecans
- 1/4 c chopped pistachios
- A bottle of your favorite alcohol for feeding the cake. I would choose either a rum, a brandy, or a bourbon that has strong notes of caramel.
- Chop or break up the dried fruits and ginger so that they can absorb liquid. Soak these and zest in the cup of rum/Brandy for several hours if not overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325.
- In a pot, combine this fruit mixture,spices, sugar, butter, extract and juice, and bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Combine all the dry ingredients and slowly incorporate these into the cooled fruit mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the chopped nuts.
- Pour into the loaf pan and bake for an hour, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow loaf to cool completely before taking out of the pan, but be sure to pour a Tbsp of liquor over the top as it is cooking.
- This cake should age for about a fortnight before being eaten. Keep it wrapped in parchment and foil, or housed in an airtight container. Or both. It does not need to be kept in the refrigerator, so long as you feed it every day. This is done by carefully ensuring that every inch of the thing has been doused in alcohol. We don’t want the cake to dissolve, so either do this a tiny teaspoon at a time, or use a basting brush. Some people use spray bottles, but I find this unsatisfying, and also am annoyed that the alcohol evaporates from the bottle. It’s meant to evaporate inside the cake itself. So if you do use the spritz method, use a small travel sized bottle and refill it each time you feed the cake.
To serve, slice like a normal cake. If not all eaten at once, be sure to feed the open end before wrapping up and storing.
This is by no means the only sort of fruitcake recipe. I hope to put up another very soon. This is simply my favorite.