My Dad also likes fruitcake. Ever since he’s discovered my blog (beware of links), he emails me occasionally with recipes or ideas. I’ve yet to follow through. Not that they aren’t lovely idea, it’s just that I don’t actually plan what I’m going to post. Posts just happen.
My secret ingredient: crystallized ginger.
The other day, he asks me if I have the prize-winning fruitcake recipe (not his recipe, someone else’s). Because it's prime time (maybe even a little late) to make fruitcake, if you want it ready for Christmas. Yep, I’ve got it. I was actually planning on making fruitcake last year, and a year later is about the perfect time to get around to doing things.
Blue ribbon be damned, I could not follow the recipe. It called for creaming butter and sugar for 15 minutes, and everyone knows I have no patience. And for giggles, I added crystallized ginger. I went with my Dad’s suggestion of using Sunmaid's Jumbo raisins – they’re huge! He just moved into a new house with a slow oven, and declares that slow and low is key. Mine was done in 2 ½ hours at 225°. We’ll compare notes at Christmas. (I hope I win.)
My camera got a bath after this shot.
And for those of you that bitch about fake fruit in fruitcakes…It’s candied, not fake. Get over it – or make one with only dried fruit. And if you still can’t get over it, send all shunned cakes to my house.
Adapted from Revised Version of Spices of Life Past and Present by Lee A. Harley, Sr.
20 ounces candied pineapple, cut into ¼ inch pieces
12 ounces candied cherries, cut in half
4 ounces jumbo raisins
8 ounces dates, chopped coarsely
2 ounces crystallized ginger, chopped finely
1 ½ cups pecans, chopped coarsely
1 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
2 cups flour
¾ cup butter, (room temperature)
1 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs (room temperature)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon mace
2 ounces sweet wine, (port or cream sherry)
brandy, rum or other spirits to add after the cake is baked
- Preheat oven to 225°.
- Mix fruit, ginger, and nuts in a large bowl, keeping a few pieces out for decorating the top of the cake.
- Sift flour, and mix about 1/3 cup flour in fruit and nut mixture until coated.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a small bowl and beat for 15 minutes, if you can stand it that long. I lasted 5 minutes.
- In another small bowl, beat eggs on high for 1 minute. Add the cinnamon and mace to the egg mixture.
- Add the creamed butter and sugar to the fruit and nut mixture, mixing well. Then add the egg mixture, mixing well. Then add the flour in three parts, mixing after each addition. Then add the sweet wine and mix. (It’s best to just reach in there and mix with your hands.)
- Fill a greased, or greased parchment-lined bundt pan (or a few smaller pans) with the batter, pressing down and smoothing out the batter. Decorate the top with nuts or fruit.
- Bake at 225° for 2-2 ½ hours, or until center of cake is done and straw inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.
- When completely cooled, unmold cake and wrap in foil for a week to cure. (Some add spirits after cooling, but I'm following the recipe sent to me, and will wait.)
- After a week of curing, sprinkle a few ounces of any combination of spirits (brandy, whiskey, port, rum, scotch, sherry) on top for the cake to absorb. Repeat, adding spirits every few days until the cake is moist throughout, or until you’re satisfied with the results.