Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fruitcake: Part II


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!

Traditional Fruitcake
(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 Brazil nuts
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed
3 eggs
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.

22 comments:

Anh said...

Aimee, I see you have been busy preparing for Christmas! This looks and sounds like a wonderful fruitcake!

Deborah said...

This definitely sounds like a better fruitcake than the ones will all the jellied fruits. I have never made fruitcake before, but this one sounds so tempting!

Nora B. said...

Oh Aimée, you are really twisting my arm here. I think I may just have to start my own fruit cake project. I relied on my mom when I was in Singapore and now in Sydney, my partner's grandma makes our fruitcakes. But I now feel a strong itch to make my own, especially since you promised that making this this cake will perfumes the whole house! I love the combination of fruits you used. Thanks for the recipe, I better start working on this baby before it's too late. ;-)

Hubby Dan said...

I'd just like to say that I had a strong blanket dislike (hate??) for all fruitcake before I met Aimee. When I had some at her parent's place, I became a convert. I now only hate the jellied fruit kind. Or maybe it's that I like the rum and brandy during the weekly dousings...

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

So tempting... think I will have to give it a miss though. Mum's bringing a cake. I thought I'd make a much lighter one in the shape of an igloo. I do admire you making your own and then keeping up the ritual of feeding it booze. Sounds delicious!

To Aimee's hubby - you're one lucky man, but I'm sure you already know that.

Patricia Scarpin said...

What a beautiful fruitcake, Aimée!

And I'm in love with your apron...

Mandy said...

Aimee, I can almost smell the wonderful aroma of your friutcake. I want a piece now. Oh, and I also want the apron. :D

Aimée said...

Hi Anh- yes, busy, busy, but it's nice to have something like fruitcake to give away at Christmas.

Hi Deborah- I am hoping to tempt a few non-fruitcake fans with these recipes.We'll see...

Hi Nora- It's great to have grandparents to make their tried and true fruitcake, but you'll have to start sometime, right? :)

Hi Danny- Oh, so that's why the rum is disappearing so fast!

Hi Amanda- Thanks for reminding my hubby, it can't hurt!

Hi Patricia- Why, thank you! it's cheery, isn't it?

Hi Mandy- Hee hee. Now you know what to ask for for Christmas!

Amber said...

I was just feeding Acadia her mashed banana as I read your blog, and was wishing I had some of that fruitcake to nibble on! I too detest the marachino cherry type of fruitcakes, ugh.
So...if you wanted to share some of your tasty treats with your favorite missionaries in Guatemala, April will be coming here on the 22nd of December - and we'd love to sample some of your creations we've been drooling over on your blog these past months:)
Although the airport officials might snag them from April at customs (for themselves!) if they get a whiff of the goodies...:)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Your fruitcake looks beautiful. I was inspired to make my first-ever fruitcake this year. They are resting happily in their boozy blankets.

Rose said...

Ohhhh Aimee, that is just a goegeous looking fruitcake. Fruitcake has this bad reputation of being too dry, too heavy or just "hated" by some. But your, yours is just lovely. And you added brazilian nuts. Now we're talking!

Carolena said...

This cake sounds fabulous. any tips on doubling or tripling the recipe? i'd like to give it as gifts this christmas.

Bellini Valli said...

By the time Christymas rolls around in 28 days your fruitcakes will cut like butter Aimee!!

winedeb said...

Aimee, I am enjoying seeing your fruitcake come to life! Nice job and looking forward to the big day you post a hardy slice of it! I can smell it now!

David Hall said...

I have to say, I'm struggling to resist my 4 week old cake. Every time I open the cupboard where it is hiding I get a hit of Xmas magic! Roll on the 25th....

Cheers
David

Venusia said...

Aimee, I said I would send you a panforte recipe in your last fruitcake post and never did. I tried many recipes and finally found one that gave me good results. Here is the link I adapt my recipe from: http://italianfood.about.com/library/weekly/aa120397.htm
The only change I made is I cook the syrup until the soft ball stage only, as I prefer a chewier texture. I prefer the Margherita to the Nero, and I assure you, it's ready to eat right away, although it also ages nicely.

Venusia said...

Cleaner link:
http://italianfood.about.com/library/weekly/aa120397.htm

Venusia said...

Sorry! The aa120397.htm at the end of the link is always getting cut off.

Aimée said...

Hi Amber-Great idea. I'll email you.

Hi Lynn-How exciting!I hope you share about them with the rest of us.

Hi Rose- Why, thank you. I've never made it before so I hope it tastes good, too!

Hi Carolena- Welcome to UtHC!! This recipe should double well, just use two pans, don't try to make one really big fruitcake.

Hi Valli- I hope so. Can't wait for that first slice.

Hi Deb-And that day is getting closer and closer. It's practically December already!

Hi David- Ah, you can relate, and with a fruitcake as amazing as yours, it's a wonder you can resist.

Hi Venusia-No problem, I was able to trace the link just fine. Thank you so much for that! I like it chewy, too.

Aimei said...

Fruitcake just came across my mind today for one of my christmas bakes and there I saw your post! :)

Shayne said...

mmmmmm, I have my fruitcake setting in the fridge soaking in rum right now, I will be making my alcohol free one tomorrow. I am nuts for fruitcake...maybe that has something to do with my blog name, maybe.

KelseyL said...

I found this last year, and made my first fruit cake a few weeks ago! It smells delicious! As it's my first time and it's been almost a month since I baked it, how do I serve it? Do you want it to have been recently brushed with rum when you serve it? Or to let it dry out a bit?

Thanks!

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