Recipes: Fruit Cake

Today's recipe is fruitcake ...

I make it in large batches as it keeps in a tin for weeks, and this way I can use a greater variety of fruits.

Although I made these cakes heart-shaped ... fruit cake works much better in loaf tins than in a round one (it takes forever to cook the center ... so if you must make it round, then consider a bunt tin).

My recipe is basically a moist orange pound cake whose batter is used to hold the fruit together.

In a large bowl put:

1 1/2 cups of butter at room temperature.

And 'fluff' it a little - I use a large wooden fork.

Stir in:

2 1/4 cups of sugar - I use unbleached.

Add, one at a time:

6 UK medium eggs or 5 US large eggs.

and incorporate them into the batter.

Sift into the mixture:

2 1/4 cups plain flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

And stir ...

Then add your spices ...

2 tablespoons orange oil, but orange juice works just as well
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Some people use candied fruit, but I prefer dried fruits - though I can never resist some good candied cherries.

I added one cup roughly chopped into halves and quarters.

The the key is to buy good quality dried fruit which is still soft rather than that hard stuff which needs to be cut with a knife.
If your fruit is too dry, then soak it in brandy or iced tea beforehand, drain the liquid and then dust the fruit with flour before you add it to the batter to stop it sinking to the bottom.

One cup each of raisins and sultanas.

Half a cup of chopped candied orange peel - I was too lazy to make this myself, so I bought some organic rind.

(and if I had made it, I would have been tempted to dip it in chocolate and stick it straight into my mouth rather than in the cake ...)

One cup of plump apricots, which I chopped roughly and threw in - some over-dried apricots sold in shops are a horrible brown, and no amount of liquid can plump them us again.

I also added half a cup of chopped dried figs - again these are a disaster if too dry, so squeeze the packet before you buy them to make sure they have some 'give' ...

This is roughly the consistency of the batter once everything has been mixed in ... The great thing with fruit cake is that it can be tailored to likes and dislikes - removing figs, adding chopped nuts, and so forth. Just try to keep the proportions similar ....

If it seems too runny, add half a cup of ground almonds.

These sorts of disposable paper molds are easy, but although they are fun for more unusual shapes, their cost in my opinion outweighs their usefulness.

If you use a metal one don't forget to butter inside so that the cake slides out ...

The portions in this recipe make three loaf tins or a dozen smaller individual cakes.

Loafs take one hour at 350 F - round cakes about 1 1/2 hours.

I think round fruitcakes are not worth the effort as they tend to burn on the outsides long before they cook on the inside ...

But if you have an urge to make one, then I recommend these - they are mini skewers, like long metal toothpicks, which I liberally stick though the center of the cake to conduct heat to it.

And if the cake seems to be over-browning ... then I simply cover it with aluminum foil and carry on cooking.

And this is what a cross-section of the cake looks like. Apologies for the bad photo, but I snapped it quickly in my eagerness to have a slice ...

I don't ice fruit cakes, but icing or marzipan works well on top.

Copyright © 2009 Dorothy King

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