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Posts tagged ‘fruit cake’

Best Damn Fruitcake The Start Of Holiday Baking

Festive

Festive

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.

fruit cakes

fruit cakes after a good soaking and brushed with a little plum jam

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

Instructions

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.

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Fruitcake For Fiesta Friday #99

Festive

Festive

I have had these fruit cake photo bombing just about every post lately. I felt they deserve a solo spot. I wanted to publish the recipe because basically I changed much of it after finding a few flaws. I have to say though, it is probably the best fruit cake I have ever made or eaten. The recipe makes one 9 inch loaf or 3 mini loaves, since I give as gifts I make mini’s.  I got the recipe last year from Pure Wow, they call it “The Best Damn Fruitcake” and with a few changes they are right about that. I made 3 more today and am bringing with me to Fiesta Friday, I hope they let me in with fruit cake, it gets a really bad rap and mostly for good reason because some of the commercially prepared fruitcakes are vile.

Next week will be the 100th party post and it happens to fall on Christmas Day, a celebration is in order. This week Angie’s co hosts are Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. Thank you ladies for hosting this week and Angie for all of her hard work.

Best Damn Fruitcake Redux

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 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 . (This time I used Port and it’s great)

12 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

1 tbs orange 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

Instructions

Pre heat oven to 325 and prepare your loaf pan or pans. Butter or spray with cooking spray.

Pour the hot booze over the fruit and let sit for at least 30 minutes. (You can do this the night before and let the fruit sit all night in the booze)

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 the 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 until tester comes out clean. If mini loaves approximately 45 minutes. They will be golden brown.  Remove from the oven and spoon some of the liquid on the loaf or loaves and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on rack. To finish them 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. You can feed them again with the liquid the next day, re wrap and keep in the tin until ready to serve.

There are no photo’s of it sliced but here is one from last year.

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fiesta-friday-badge-button-i-was-featured1

 

 

 

Mini Loaves, Banana And Fruitcake- Christmas/Holiday Gift Box

fruit cake

fruit cake

I love including a mini loaf in my gift box of cookies. I always do banana, sometimes I do pear or apple or fig. This year I made banana which is always good and yesterday I got an email from Pure Wow Recipes. The name of it was The Best Damn Fruitcake Ever. Hmmmm I thought, thats a lofty claim, the dreaded fruitcake that most really hate, can this be the exception that I have been looking for. I decided to give it a try. How can you go wrong with delicious dried assorted fruits, nuts and booze. I bought the fruit. was out of bourbon so I used cognac to soak the fruit, ran out of almonds so I used walnuts along with the hazelnuts and pistachio’s. I must say it tastes absolutely nothing like the dreaded fruitcake, it is a loaf like banana bread or any fruit based bread really and is really good. If I make this again,  I will make a few changes. They have you soak the fruit for 10 minutes in 1/2 cup of bourbon (cognac) I would soak the fruit longer even over night in more booze. The other change I would make is baking temperature. They say 350 degree’s I would bake at 325 degree’s. I found it got done much quicker (actually a bit overdone) than they said, of course to be fair I doubled the recipe baked 4 mini loaves and 1 larger loaf in a pan that wasn’t quite full enough. If I had left the larger loaf in the oven for 2 hours it would have burnt. All in all I think this is a really nice fruit cake and is a recipe I would play around with and tweak, it has serious potential.

Ingredients

Makes one 9 inch loaf or 3 mini loaves

from Pure Wow Recipes

½ cup dried apricots, chopped

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup golden raisins

1 cup bourbon

½ cup pistachios, chopped

½ cup hazelnuts, chopped

½ cup pecans, chopped

½ cup sliced almonds

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest

Pinch of cinnamon

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Turbinado sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. Prepare the fruit: In a medium-size heat-safe bowl, toss the apricots with the cranberries, cherries and raisins. In a small pot, bring the bourbon to a simmer. Pour it over the fruit and let sit for 10 minutes. NOTE: I soaked my fruit overnight and because I did that I didn’t bring the bourbon/cognac to a simmer on the stove.

3. Drain the fruit, reserving the bourbon. Transfer the fruit to another medium bowl and toss with the pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds. Set aside.

4. Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the side of the bowl well after each addition.

5. Beat in the vanilla extract, orange zest and cinnamon. Add the flour and baking powder; mix just until combined.

6. Bake the cake: Add the fruit-and-nut mixture to the batter and mix to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Garnish with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar, then bake until golden and cooked through, 2 to 2½ hours. NOTE: I made 3 mini loaves which took approximately 45 minutes to bake. I tested with a bamboo skewer starting at 30 minutes in the oven. 

7. While the cake is baking, bring the reserved bourbon to a simmer and reduce to about ¼ cup. Pour the reduced bourbon over the warm cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving. The uncut cake will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container. NOTE: I did not cook the bourbon/cognac but spooned some on the cake when it came out of the oven, let it cool then spooned on a little more and wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a air tight tin. Every few days I spooned more syrup on the cake and re wrapped and let it age in the tin. It is good after about a week to eat but it can sit longer.

not your average fruitcake

not your average fruitcake

Banana Bread:

Makes one 9 inch loaf or 3 mini loaves

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping cup mashed very ripe bananas (the recipe calls for 1 cup, I pile it high)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
Banana bread

Banana bread

 

Happy 4th Of July!! Retro Recipe-Fruit Cocktail Cake A Review

Fruit Cocktail Cake

Fruit Cocktail Cake

I am not sure exactly of the origins of this cake it appeared in the 1950’s, some say it hails from the South. I found this cake while researching some recipes,I saw a cake in James McNair’s “Cakes” it’s called plantation cake and in the headnote he describes a fruit cocktail cake that is so wonderful he reworked the recipe keeping the basics of the cake very similar. So I decided I wanted to find out what a fruit cocktail cake was, I surmised that it contains fruit cocktail (duh) so I looked up some recipes and found some that were handed down from Moms and Grandma’s all basically the same, a yellow sheet cake containing fruit cocktail and a sweetened condensed milk icing poured over the cake while it’s hot. All contain shredded coconut, some pecans some macadamia nuts. This cake is moist, sweet (even though I reduced the sugar) and fruity. This would make a great cake to take to a potluck, it’s baked in a 9×13 pan and it’s so rich one small square is enough so it feeds a lot of people. I combined recipes I found on the several different sites and the plantation cake from James McNair, so this is my version of a fruit cocktail cake. I probably could have made my own fruit cocktail but why do that, nothing wrong with canned fruit every now and then, as a matter of fact I have really fond memories of eating fruit cocktail, I loved it as a kid. I even remember ambrosia, at almost any function someone brought it, I used to love picking the fruit cocktail out of the creamy stuff. This bad boy is on it’s way to an annual 4th of July BBQ. An all American dessert to celebrate Independence Day! NOTE: The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups sugar for the cake, because I used fruit cocktail which is sweet I reduced the sugar to 1 1/4 cup, I used fruit cocktail in its own juices. Next time I make this cake I think I will use pineapple as Mr. McNair suggests. It’s good, but pineapple has more flavor in my opinion than fruit cocktail. Another option would be making your own fruit cocktail in a flavorful simple syrup. This cake is easy to make, no mixer required, it comes together in a flash.

Verdict: I cut the cake into pieces to bring with me to the BBQ, tasted it and I am not in love with it. The texture bothers me and in my opinion it’s not flavorful enough, maybe it was the canned fruit which I rarely if ever use, who knows, but I think Mr. McNair was most likely on the right track when he added pineapple instead of fruit cocktail. The cake has no fat added, I guess the fruit cocktail with the juice is supposed to add moisture, well it did but the cake itself is a bit chewy and not light like a cake should be in my opinion. Question, has anyone ever tried the fruit cocktail cake before? If you did what did you think about it. I would also think about adding yogurt or sour cream to the cake.

Makes a 9×13 cake

Topping

1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter at room temperature

Cake

20 oz fruit cocktail with juice

3 cups flour

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbs baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 eggs at room temperature lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

2 tbs butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 rectangular baking pan and set aside.

Make your topping, combine nuts, brown sugar and butter and crumble with your hands. Set aside.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. add the rest of the ingredients for the cake  and whisk to mix well.

Pour batter into prepared pan and crumble the topping evenly on the cake. Bake until tester comes out clean approximately 45 minutes.

Make the icing, heat a skillet over medium heat add the coconut and toast until it starts to turn a golden brown.  Set aside to cool. Alternately you can put the coconut on a sheet of foil and place in the 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Either in a heat proof measuring cup or small saucepan heat the condensed milk and butter until its pourable and butter is melted. Pour over the cake while it’s hot, sprinkle with the coconut. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake