The ruminations of an artist on art & quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Fruit Cake Haters Holiday Fruitcake

I bet you are thinking fruit cake already??? well, this fruit cake is better if it can "age" a few weeks before you eat it so I am sharing this scrumptious recipe now. Bake it now for eating around Christmas time. I call this the FRUIT CAKE HATERS fruit cake because even avowed fruit cake haters LOVE this fruit cake made with all natural dried fruit (and rum!)

The Fruit Cake Haters Holiday Fruitcake

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

1 big bottle brandy or rum
(one year I used very dark Jamaican rum --which my folks brought me from Jamaica---to soak the dried fruit in---and when we first tasted the cake we discovered --to our great disappointment!---the rum taste was so strong it was inedible. But when I told an elderly friend about this--she said--"Honey, you just but that fruitcake away until March and then try it." So we stuck the fruitcake in the back of the refrigerator for a few months and when we next tried it--that rum fruitcake was really delicious!)

About 7 -8 cups pitted, chopped, dried fruit
(I use a mixture of raisens, prunes, dates, dried cherries, dried pears, dried apples, dried peaches, dried apricots---all organic, natural and unsulphured if possible)
1/2-1 cup candied orange and lemon peels
(you can purchase these, but I make my own candied citrus fruit peels--these are great in other holiday goodies, also--so I make a big batch each year)
Note: whatever you do --DO NOT use those commercial candied fruit mixes in the recipe--it ruins the recipe)
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup honey (or molasses for a dark cake)
1/2 cup softened butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4-1/2 cup brandy or apple


Chop all the dried fruit and citrus peels into about 1/2 chunks---sometimes it easiest to cut the dried fruit with kitchen scissors---and place the fruit in a big bowl. Pour the brandy over the fruit--enough to cover the fruit totally. Cover this with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 days---the fruit will soak up all the brandy.
(Note: if you don't cook with alcohol, you may use apple juice to soak the fruit in)

After the allotted time, thoroughly drain the fruit in a strainer--but save the juices. Stir together the dry ingredients, pressing out any lumps. Cream honey, butter, and eggs. Then stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the soaked fruit and the nuts, adding enough of the liquid from soaking the fruit to make a pourable batter (not too runny though--like a cake batter). If you don't have much fruit soaking liquid--use apple juice or brandy. (Note: there will be less batter than fruit--but it will be ok)

Grease breads pans and line the bottom with greased parchment paper. (important step--don't omit the parchment paper!) Pour batter into pans--filling only halfway. I usually use a mix small and large bread pans. I like the small pans for gifts.

Bake at 3oo degrees for about 3 hours with a pan of hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven. The tops will be golden brown and cracked and a toothpick will come out clean when they are done. Cool for 20 minutes in the pans before carefully removing. After the cakes are completely cooled pour brandy (or rum) over them, and wrap each cake in cheesecloth you have soaked with the brandy (or rum). Seal up in tinfoil and place in the refrigerator to age. This fruitcake definitely improves with age, but also can be eaten right away.

So bake a batch of these fruitcakes and be pleasantly surprised by how yummy they are. I'm off to purchase the dried fruit and rum now....

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