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 oven will work just fine.
Makes 1 large cake or 3 small cakes
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
1 cup candied cherries cut in half
1/2 cup chopped mixed peel
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup brandy
* combine and allow to stand overnight
Grease a loaf pan which will hold 5 1/2 cups of ingredients or 3 small pans which will each hold just under 2 cups of ingredients.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
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)
Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with liquid. Make 4 dry and 3 liquid additions. Fold in flavored fruit. Turn into a prepared pan.
Bake in 275 degree oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours for a full size cake and 2 hours & 40 minutes for a mini cake. Because every oven is different, make sure to test your cake by inserting a toothpick into the cake, If the toothpick comes out “clean” you will be good. 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.