The Secret to Fruit Cake
I will not eat raisins.
I won't eat carrot cake with raisins, and I'll even turn down my favorite baked good (maybe my fav food period) cinnamon rolls, if they're full of those little nasties. Glad I got that out of the way. I feel better for having written it.
I think that's the secret to Fruit Cake. Ignore convention, and use only the fruits and nuts you would put in your granola or eat out of hand. Couple that with a cake you'd actually want to eat, and you've got something that makes a great breakfast slice or surprisingly delicious dessert.
If you happen to be a desiccated grape aficionado, go ahead and fill your loaves with them, just don't invite me over with the promise of scrumptious cake. Not that you were planning on inviting me over. Was it something I wrote?
Let's get started.
Makes: 2 standard loaves
Total Time: 2 hours (plus 30 min to 12 hours for soaking your fruit)
800-1000g DRIED FRUIT [Dried cranberries, dried cherries, candied lemon or lemon peel, candied orange or orange peel, candied ginger, glace cherries, etc] NOTE: If using candied ginger, which I recommend, keep it to less than 150g of the total or it will overwhelm.
175g or 3/4 cup RUM [substitute BRANDY or APPLE JUICE] NOTE: An aged or white rum is fine, but I'd stay away from spiced rum unless you are confident you want those spices as part of your cake.
227g or 2 sticks BUTTER at room temp
350g or 1 3/4 cups SUGAR
75g or 1/4cup LIGHT CORN SYRUP
2tsp BAKING POWDER
1/2tsp VANILLA EXTRACT
350g or 2 1/2cups AP FLOUR
100g or 3/4cup ALMOND FLOUR* (or substitute w equal amounts AP FLOUR)
225g or 1 cup MILK (whatever you have in the fridge)
225g or 2 cups NUTS optional (candied pecans are delicious)
1- Chop all FRUIT down to about half the size of a dried cranberry. Place all chopped fruit in a bowl (excluding Glace Cherries if you have them) and soak in the RUM for 30 min to 12 hours.
2- Preheat the oven to 300F. Prepare loaf pans by greasing all over and placing parchment paper in the bottom.
3- In stand mixer or large bowl, cream the BUTTER and SUGAR until light and fluffy. Add the CORN SYRUP, BAKING POWDER, SALT, NUTMEG, and VANILLA and beat until combined.
4- Add the EGGS one at a time until incorporated.
5- Combine the FLOUR and ALMOND FLOUR in a separate bowl. Alternate adding the combined flours and MILK until fully incorporated.
6- Add the NUTS, FRUIT, and all remaining soaking liquid. Stir until completely integrated.
7- Divide mixture between the two loaf pans and bake for 55-85 minutes. The more fruit you have in the cakes, the longer they will take to cook. Remove when they reach an internal temp of at least 195F.
8- Brush with an additional 2 tbsp RUM for each cake while still very warm. Leave to cool completely.
9- EAT! Or in keeping with Fruit Cake tradition, wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap and freeze for up to a year. When you are ready to eat, defrost and brush with another 2 tbsp of RUM before serving.
*I can hear you, "It's only the seventh recipe, and he's already breaking his promise and using specialized flour. What a jerk!" First, that hurts. I would never talk that way about you. Second, as I've said before, I don't like most cakes as they are inevitably dry and overcooked. Almond flour fixes the dry problem and gives additional grace on the overcooking problem. Third, despite the name, I don't consider Almond Flour to be a flour because it gives a ton of flavor. Regardless, the cake works really well with all AP FLOUR, but please, pull it from the oven when it hits 195F, and maybe brush with a little extra RUM.
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I've never had a second piece of any fruit cake. Until now...