Christmas cake, fruit cake, holiday cake…..whatever you want to call it…….this cake has had a love/hate relationship with a lot of folks. Quite simply, you are either a huge fan of this Christmas tradition or you look upon it with the same revulsion as The Plague! If you fall in to the second category than I’ll bid you a good day and hope you’ll drop by again. But, if you enjoy the combined taste of almonds, currants, dates, raisins, candied cherries and citrus all baked up into a flavorful greatness, than I’ll bet that you love fruit cake and look forward to buying this cake at Christmas. But this year, instead of buying Fruit Cake, why not try your hand at making this Holiday favorite? I promise……it really isn’t hard!
My initial desire to make this cake came from two separate areas. First, my Dad LOVES fruit cake. I can still remember his ”company gift” fruit cake coming into our house on Christmas Eve and being strategically placed on top of our fridge. Every January evening after dinner, that fruit cake was taken down from its sacred spots and a small piece was sliced off and washed down with a cup of coffee. So for you Dad, I’m really making this cake, though I too am a fan of the fruit cake as well. Secondly, my blog is focused on “stepping back to a simpler time” and I received a great opportunity this month to make a fruit cake in a wood fired brick oven just the way folks would have done so more than 150 years ago! So…. without further adieu, here is a classic fruit cake recipe that I hope you will enjoy. Oh….by the way, ……you don’t need the wood fired brick oven. Your conventional stove will work just fine.
2 ounces slivered blanched almonds
8 ounces candied cherries cut in half
4 ounces chopped mixed peel
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup brandy
Grease, line with parchment paper and grease again a pan which will hold 5 1/2 cups of ingredients. A loaf pan will work fine for this cake.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
Gradually blend in
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3/8 cup molasses (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
3/8 cup apple juice/ cider (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
Bake in 275 degree oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until cake tests done with a toothpick. Remove from pan and lift off parchment paper. Drizzle generously with brandy (around 2 tablespoons).Cool cake completely and then wrap loosely in wax paper and store in an air-tight container.