Wednesday is Fruitcake Day here at Under the High Chair since it is the day I set aside time to lovingly tend to my fruitcakes. I carefully unwrap my Figgy Christmas Fruit Rolls from their parchment paper swaddling and brush them with brandy; the smell of dark chocolate, figs and spices almost as intoxicating as the fumes from the brandy. I haven't had alcohol for about six month's now, thanks to a dear baby on the way, and I am feeling lightheaded just getting a whiff of the stuff!
After the rolls are taken care of, I crack open a bottle of rum and unwrap my other, more traditional, fruitcake from it's cheesecloth. It has gotten all soft and moist in the last three weeks and I am salivating in anticipation of how good it will be by Christmas.
Then I remember, I haven't given out the recipe for this fruitcake yet! Oops.
Here is a photo of the cake just out of the oven - a baby, if you will. It had yet to mature into an adult.
I love what goes into this fruitcake. Not the usual load of maraschino cherries (which I loathe) and candied fruit mix, but a decadent concoction of whole Brazil nuts, dried cherries, and apricots. Lightly flavored with vanilla and rum, this cake perfumes your whole house during it's rather long baking period. Like most traditional fruitcakes, it is then brushed with rum, wrapped up in muslin or cheesecloth and hidden away for a month, only coming out once in a while to be doused with rum again. Let me tell you, it is very hard to resist sneaking a little taste during those weekly rituals.
I am sure it's going to be fantastic and it's not too late if you still want to have a fruitcake ready for the holidays. This cake takes about a month of aging, so get started on it today!
(Adapted from Martha Stewart's Backhouse Family Fruitcake)
Makes 1 eight-inch cake
1 ½ sticks (1 cup plus 2T) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried pineapple, chopped into ½ inch pieces
½ cup apricots, chopped
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
½ cup dried cherries
¾ cup whole blanched almonds
1 ½ cups whole
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum, plus more for dousing
Heat oven to 300F. Brush an eight-inch spring-form pan with butter. Line bottom and sides with parchment; brush parchment with butter.
Combine fruits and nuts in a bowl and set aside. Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed; add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla and rum.
In two additions, add dry ingredients to butter. Scrape down sides of bowl between additions. Fold in fruit and nuts. Pour batter into pan. Bake until golden and set, about 2 1/2 hours. Cover with foil if it colours too much.
Cool on wire rack. Remove from pan; discard parchment. Wrap in cheesecloth or muslin. Brush all over with ¼ cup rum. Store in a cool, dry place; douse with ¼ cup rum weekly for at least 1 month before serving.