Have you made your fruitcake yet?
Aw come on, don’t be a lemming, a follower, a “me too” person. Give it a try! Despite the bad press, and it is legion I know, fruitcake is delicious and I’m not ashamed to say so. Now, here’s the thing: a good, brandy soaked fruitcake is actually a very adult treat, and this is why, in my opinion, it’s been so maligned over the years – a lot of bad PR from the under twelve set.
I was not always a believer, but a friend of mine from Down Under changed my mind forever when she brought a fruitcake as a hostess gift during a summer vacation in Maine. I know, I know – fruitcake in summer?!?! It was absolutely delicious and completely appropriate. I ate half of it myself and have been hooked ever since.
Now, you can serve fruitcake with a dollop of vanilla infused (unsweetened) whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even Grammie Sue’s hard sauce. Or, if you’re a real thrill seeker, proudly plop that slab of fruity goodness down on the table buck naked after Christmas dinner and wait for the raves. If you put it up now, it should be perfect by December 25th. Really.
Maree’s Five Star Fruitcake
I give all quantities in weights because that’s the way the recipe was given to me and I just can’t figure out equivalent measures. And anyways, if you don’t have a little food scale you probably should.
In a bowl combine:
- Juice and grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 1 lb EACH currents, black raisins and golden raisins
- 8 oz glacée cherries
- 8 oz mixed peel
In another bowl, beat until thick and creamy:
- 5 eggs
- 8 oz white sugar
Add to the egg mixture and mix well:
- 8 oz flour
- 4 oz ground almonds
- ½ oz mixed spice
Add the dried fruits to the mixture and pour in 8 oz melted butter (the recipe calls for unsalted, but I used salted butter – your choice). Combine all.
A note on nuts: For reasons best understood by themselves, some people put nuts in fruitcake – pistachios, walnuts, almonds and what have you. I don’t because I feel the crunch of the nuts interferes with my enjoyment of the texture and also I just don’t like nuts in fruitcake. But you may feel the need, and if you do, just substitute the nuts for an equal amount of the raisins or currents, would be my advice.
Line a large sheet cake pan with wax paper and dump the mix into it. You can use a tube pan (the kind you use for angel food cake) if you like, but that feels a bit like grandstanding to me. Still if you must, you must.
Cover the top of the cake with more wax paper and bake in a 250 degree oven for five hours. Check regularly. If it looks like the top is too brown (it should be a lovely dark walnut color when it’s done), turn the heat down. After five hours, turn the heat off and leave the cake in the oven with the door closed for another half hour.
Once it’s cooled, remove the wax paper, skewer the top and pour over brandy, rum or whiskey. I much prefer brandy but you do as you see fit. Once seasoned, wrap the cake in foil and pop it in the closet until Christmas week. You absolutely can eat it straightaway if you want. The sousing and maturing are entirely optional.