Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cake 41: Fruitcake, not what you think.

 At the  start of this project I made a pact with myself that come December (or earlier if I was really on the ball) I'd bake fruit cake. Canadian "white" fruitcake, also known as "Wedding Cake" where I'm from and "Groom's Cake" in other circles. William and Kate had at their wedding. Good enough for the future queen of England, good enough for me.

What's nice about this cake is that it's not gross... like most fruitcake. American fruitcake in particular is wretched. This is a neat blend of sweet, rich flavors and crunchy texture with a nice contrasting kick from the liquors.

When researching fruitcake I found out a lot of interesting things. For example, some folks butter each side of a slice and pop it in a pan or on the griddle and serve it warm at Christmas breakfast. Another popular modern application for fruitcake is making it into cake balls. I bet they would be AWESOME if you used the hard sauce to glue the crumbs together. And more classically, you can send home your holiday gifts with a nicely wrapped slice of fruitcake - keeping tradition alive.

I got this recipe from CHOW and I have to say, it's the most ingredient intense, expensive recipe ever. But is is dead-easy to throw together. It's certainly a special occasion cake, for the cost alone, but it's perfect for christmas and weddings.

White Groom's Fruit Cake


For the fruit:
3 cups raw pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups currants I used Dates
1 1/2 cups dried pineapple, finely chopped
3/4 cup bourbon I had to look up what this was and ended up mixing Southern Comfort and Jack Daniels
1/4 cup Cointreau or other high-quality orange-flavored liqueur I used Grand Mariner, it's what we had
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Bourbon, for aging (optional)


For the fruit:

Combine all ingredients in a large container and stir to mix. Cover tightly and let macerate at room temperature for 24 hours.

The fruit and nuts don't chop themselves, I used a food processor. 
If you now a trick for pulsing dried fruit and having it not become mush, please let me know.

I wish you could smell this - it's CRAZY intense in a you-know-this-is-going-to-be-good way.

For the cake:

Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with butter; set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
pictures taken during snowstorm, sorry

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix at medium-high speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and continue mixing until fluffy, about another 3 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, letting each mix in fully before adding the next. Stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl. 

Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. 

Fold in the macerated fruit until just incorporated. 

Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake until the cakes are golden, set throughout, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.

Let cool 30 minutes in the pans on a wire rack. Run a knife around the outside of each cake, turn them onto the rack, and let cool completely before slicing and eating, or aging.

To age the fruitcakes, store each at room temperature in an 11-by-7-by-3-inch plastic container with a tightfitting lid and brush with 1/4 cup bourbon every 10 days for up to 3 1/2 months. I brushed one with bourbon and wrapped it in plastic wrap. The other we're eating fresh with hard sauce.

Hard Sauce

You know, I always thought hard sauce was called that because it was 'hard' as in solid, not liquid. But I'm pretty sure it's hard due to all the liquor - like hard cider. 

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
1-1/2 cup icing sugar
2 TBL whiskey,  or to taste

Beat butter  powdered sugar until fluffy. Add whiskey and beat again, scrape the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed together. You can do this in a mixer but I'm a spoon and bowl kind of girl.

Spoon into a bowl and serve, or keep in the fridge (it will last for days covered in plastic wrap) until you need it. NOTE: The hard sauce will harden in the fridge, so be sure to remove it at least a couple of hours before you want to serve. Hard sauce should be smooth and easily spooned onto desserts.

I will report back on the fruitcake we are aging until Christmas. So far, it smells boozy and delicious.


Dunx said...

yes, that's the right kind of fruitcake - the kind that keeps for years without refrigeration.

Yum yum yum.

Some people eat it with cheese, too - especially Wensleydale, Lancashire or Cheshire: the hard, salty, crumbly, white cheeses. Oddly, this is something particularly associated with Yorkshire - I say "oddly" because I never encountered it when I lived there, only when I had been living darn sarf for ten years.

Oh gosh, now I'm drooling for cheese.

Yum yum yum.

Ayana said...

MMMM! I have never had a desire to make fruit cake... until now! Yum!

donna!ee said...

i'm a weirdo i know but i love love love all fruit cake, always have. this recipe does seem to be more blended than chunky and i will def give it a go! thank you much :)

Mel R said...

I adore fruitcake and it's not Christmas without one. I don't bake though so I depend on store bought ones most of which are nasty but we found a company recently that had very yummy ones. I'm so happy. I bet yours will be MUCH better though. YUM!