Well, that’s a bit much. Suffice it to say that I really like fruitcake and am saddened by its unwelcome reputation.
Given my love for fruitcake, it was only a matter of time before I decided to try my hand at making my very own. The crop of fruitcake recipes popping up on tastespotting and foodgawker this time of year only heightened the temptation.
As with most temptations, it was only a matter of time before I succumbed.
This fruitcake is modeled this recipe. I liked its reliance on dried instead of candied fruits and the addition of cream cheese in the batter. I’m of the opinion that cream cheese makes everything better. However, I like booze in my fruitcake – otherwise, I don’t see the point – so I added rum. Next time, I think I’ll go with whiskey/bourbon, as I think I would have preferred their more mellow notes, but rum is better than no booze. In all sorts of contexts.
This fruitcake is a bit less artificial-tasting than store-bought fruitcake, but I would be lying if I said it were lighter. You could, in fact, use this as a doorstop. Alternately, you could drape slices of it atop yourself in lieu of a lead apron next time you need X-rays at the dentist.
You would be better advised to eat it, though, because somewhere, deep down, you probably love fruitcake too.
Among my many recipe futzes, I skipped the candied cherries and used dried bing cherries from Trader Joe’s. I also candied my own citrus peel, as I’m a psycho like that, and I didn’t *really* want to leave the kitchen this weekend. The only kind of candied citrus peel could find at the grocery store was made with corn syrup. While I’m not at all worried about the deleterious health effects of this unholy liquid – if I were, I’d hardly be making fruitcake –the taste of corn syrup squicks me out and always has. It’s why I’ve never been much of a soda-drinker.
Without further ado, I give you fruitcake. Consider it a virtual gift, i.e. easier to reject than the real thing if it’s not your cup of tea.
It would go nicely, however, with a hot cup of tea.
In a medium saucepan, bring to boil:
2 ½ cups water
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cup sultana raisins
2 cups dried chopped apricots
8 oz. dried bing cherries
Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking at the bottom every few minutes, and cool completely.
Cream until light and fluffy:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum or bourbon or whiskey
4 ounces cream cheese
Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2 ½ cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
Fold half of the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Fold in the cooled boiled apricot mixture, followed by the remaining dry ingredients along with:
2 cups candied citrus peel, homemade or purchased
1 cup dried pineapple, diced into smallish chunks
2 cups toasted nut pieces (I used hazelnuts, but pecans and walnuts would also be good)
You can substitute other dried or candied fruit permutations should you wish.
I baked this in a loaf pan and a bundt pan. It probably would have all fit in a bundt pan, but I wanted a loaf for home – the bundt was for my family’s Thanksgiving gathering. That's why you don't get any pretty pictures of bundt slices.
Bake in preheated 350 oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out relatively clean.
Once the cake or cakes are completely cooled, wrap in rum, whiskey, or bourbon-soaked cheesecloth (lightly damp – not sopping). Then wrap the cakes in plastic wrap, and wrap that in tin foil. Keeps indefinitely. Once a week or so, it’s a good idea to brush the tops of the cake with more liquor.
I’ll post the recipe for the candied citrus peel at some point in the future, so never fear if you share my aversion to the store-bought variety. Help is on the way.
Or possibly, the ever-spiraling cycle of insanity continues. Printable recipe here.