Well, it’s actually fruitcake, but that word has some bad connotations, thanks to the radioactive studded substance we find at the grocery store this time of year. For the past 6 or so years, I’ve been baking fruitcake annually around Thanksgiving. Around Thanksgiving because it takes several weeks for the cake to mellow and age (with many spritzes of brandy) before it is ready to be eaten. This way it is ready just on time for Christmas gifting or parties.
This is basically Alton Brown’s recipe from I’m Just Here For More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking, which is subtly different from the Good Eats recipe from the episode “It’s a Wonderful Cake” (although I do recommend watching that episode, you can find it pretty easily on Youtube).
(Makes one 9″x5″ or two 6″x3Â¾” loaf pans)
Note: The original recipe calls for the single larger loaf. But I had come across a pair of smaller loaf pans, and it turns out the smaller size is perfect for gifting, and doubles your unit yield. Instead of doubling the recipe, prepare multiple batches of the dried fruit mix, as it is hard to split into proper portions.
|Â¾ C||Golden raisins|
|Â¾ C||Dried cranberries|
|Â¾ C||Dried blueberries|
|Â¾ C||Dried cherries|
|Â½ C||Dried apricots, chopped|
|Â¼ C||Candied ginger, chopped|
|5||whole cloves, ground|
|3||allspice berries, ground|
|1 C||Dark rum|
|Â¾ C||Unfiltered apple juice|
|Â½ C||Hard apple cider|
|2||Large eggs, lightly beaten|
|5 oz||All-purpose flour (1 cup)|
|5 oz||Whole-wheat flour (1 cup)|
|1 tsp||Baking powder|
|1 tsp||Baking soda|
|1 tsp||Ground cinnamon|
|1Â½ tsp||Kosher salt|
|Â¼ tsp||Black pepper|
|Â½ cup||Pecans chopped and toasted|
|Brandy, for spritzing|
- Mix together dried fruits, ginger, zests, cloves, allspice and rum – you can do this in the pot you will be using the next day (see step 2). Soak overnight.
- The next day, stir in the apple juice, cider, butter and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring every few minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes
- Remove from heat and cool Â½ hour until it is room temperature. Stir in the eggs.
- Put oven rack to lower middle position and preheat to 325Â°F. Either butter and flour your loaf pan(s) or spray with “Pam for Baking”.
- Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the pecans.
- Pour the spiced fruit mixture into the bowl and fold in until it is just combined. Do not overmix.
- Put the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by poking a skewer into the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it is done baking, otherwise let it go a few minutes more before testing again.
- Set pan(s) on cooling rack and spritz top with brandy. Cool completely before turning out onto wrack and spritzing with more brandy.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil.
- To age, unwrap and spritz with brandy and re-wrap every 2 or 3 days for 2 weeks, and then once a week for the next two weeks. After one month of aging and spritzing the cake is ready to be eaten.
Serving suggestion: toast lightly and spread with marscapone cheese.