Dec 12, 2012

American fruit cake

I shouldn't be tasting the cake till December 24th...or 23rd...but I did, this morning...things you have to do for the sake of research. I'm very happy with the result, even if I just had one end piece.

The cake takes two weeks to make or should I say, to ripen. The two weeks are for treating your fruit cake with brandy. Besides that, the recipe is basic, full-proof. It requires also one night to macerate dried fruit in rum, time to cook and cool the fruit mix, 5 minutes of actual mixing and about 1 hour in oven.

This is the most popular fruit cake on Foodnetwork. It makes for a great gift for your friend. If I had small loaf baking forms, maybe I would do that. But I only have one big one. Last year, my expanded family ate it up in two days.

The recipe calls for lots of ingredients, fruits, spices. Use what you like and what you have. It's close to Christmas, so I did fill up my pantry with supplies. I still didn't have everything so I experimented a bit. I didn't have an orange zest, so I used store-bought candied orange skin. Just don't add dried figs. Last year I did and they disappeared in the dough.

I can't wait, last year I only allowed two days for brandy to do its job and it was a hit! This year, it sounds like I'm going to have a real grown-up tasting cake even though I'm a couple days late again.

Recipe adapted from Foodnetwork

1 cup (240 ml) gold rum
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped 
1/2 cup dried papaya, chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
zest from 1 lemon, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup candied orange skin, chopped coarsely
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
1/2 teaspoon all spice, ground
1 cup (240 ml) apple juice
1 1/4 cup (140 g) butter
1 3/4 cup (245 g) flour
1 1/2 teaspoon (10 g) salt
1 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
1 teaspoon (8 g) baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, broken, toasted
brandy for brushing

Place all dried fruit, zests and ginger in a bowl. Add rum, macerate overnight.

Transfer all the fruit and liquids in a saucepan. Add butter, sugar, apple juice and spices (except salt). Bring to boil and simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325 F/160 C.
Butter (extra butter) and dust with flour (extra flour) a 10 inch/27 cm loaf baking form.

In a bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Unite the flour mix with the fruit mix quickly with a spoon. Add eggs, one at the time. Fold in the nuts.

Transfer the batter into the baking form.
Bake it for about 70-80 minutes, till the toothpick comes out dry. 

Place the cake on a cooling rack, spray it with brandy. Let it cool completely.
Remove it from the form. Wrap it tightly with a plastic wrap. 
Keep the cake moist by brushing it with the liquor every 2-3 days. The taste should improve noticeably.

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