Best Damn Fruitcake The Start Of Holiday Baking
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything, things have been kind of crazy and time has gotten past me. Cooking has not been a priority except what I need to sustain myself. I am going to make a concerted effort to post more, cook more, develop recipes, it’s my passion that frankly has taken a back seat to other things and I feel like I am unbalanced. I need to get back in the groove so to speak and am hoping that all the cooking that I am doing will help me to get my mojo back. In January my blog will be 5 years old, thats a long time and I am proud of how this site has evolved and also saddened that I have let it slip away lately. It has taken me a while to get some balance after the passing of Nando and Izzy. Percy is helping me and is such a good boy, he has brought joy back into my life. I am so thankful for that.
The Holidays are upon us, for me that means a lot of time in the kitchen baking. Cookies, mini loaves, cakes and pies, it’s a very important part of the holidays for me and this year will be no exception. The title of this recipe may sound kind of funny but that’s actually what they called it in Pure Wow which is where I first found this recipe. I have changed it considerably from the ingredients to the baking time and temperature. That said this is the BEST fruitcake I have ever had. A far cry from the commercially prepared and dreaded Christmas gifts that many of us grew up on. No green and red candied or fake fruit, there is actually noticable cake with a balanced amount of fruit and nuts. I make this every year and although these photo’s are from last year as I have not started my baking yet it will be made this year many times over, it is included in my gift baskets for friends and family who all agree that it really is The Best Damn Fruitcake.
Best Damn Fruitcake
Makes one 9 inch loaf or 3 mini loaves
1 1/2 cups dried fruit of your choice- I used cherries, cranberries, apricots, pears and golden raisins. Use however much you like of each so that you have a total of 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups nuts chopped- I used pecans, hazelnuts, pistachio’s and almonds. Use whatever you like, however much of each so that it equals 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cup booze or fruit juice like apple cider- (I have used cognac, bourbon, port, also have thrown in some Poire William), heated on stove top or in microwave until hot not boiling .
12 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbs orange or tangerine zest
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 tbs retained liquid from fruit
Demerara or turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Pre heat oven to 325 and prepare your loaf pan or pans. Butter or spray with cooking spray.
Pour the hot booze or juice over the fruit and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer the fruit sits in the liquid the better it is in my opinion, the recipe only has the fruit macerate for 10 minutes, but it can easily sit overnight or 48 hours.
Drain the fruit but retain the liquid, you will need it later so don’t discard.
Place the drained fruit and chopped nuts in a bowl and set aside.
In your mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar for about 4-5 minutes. It should be light and fluffy, scrape sides as needed. Add the eggs one at a time beating well between additions and scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla, orange zest and cinnamon.
Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and beat only until combined adding 1 tbs of retained liquid from the fruit. Remove the bowl from your mixer and add the fruit and nuts and fold in until combined. Add the batter to the pan or pans, smooth the top and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake with the rack in the middle of the oven. If you are making one loaf for about 90 minutes or more (watch carefully) or until tester comes out clean. If mini loaves approximately 40-50 minutes. They will be golden brown. Remove from the oven and spoon some of the retained liquid on the loaf or loaves and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on rack, spoon some more liquid on them and wrap in plastic or cheese cloth and store in air tight tin, These are best served 48+ hours after baking. Over the next couple of days continue to spoon more of the retained liquid on the loaf re wrapping and storing in the airtight container until you are ready to serve.