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The Fruitcake Topic

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#61 Betts

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 02:28 PM

I've been lurking on this thread for a few days and have been inspired to actually make my fruitcake for the year. I have several recipes but this year it is Emily Dickenson's Black Cake that is very similar to the Jamaican Black cakes up thread.

This thread was helpful because someone asked me to donate to a silent auction and I do not want to do a dinner ( too much unspecified obligation - much experience with this) and it is much better to have a displayed item for the auction.

I hit upon a "Basket of Traditional British Christmas Baking" - thus the basket got one of the aforementioned fruitcakes, Grandma McCracken's Carrot Pudding (my contribution to recipe gullet) and the classic shortbread - petticoat tails style. A couple of candles, some small Christmas crackers - not the edible kind, the snapping kind and a recipe for Brandy sauce.

The printed material that goes with it - sort of tap dances around the fruit cake issue I called it Black Cake and suggested it be served with a wedge of cheddar or Stilton and port - suggestion of an early poster - and a fine suggestion it was.

The packaging materials cost more than the edible ingredients but it looks very stylish and appealing .

#62 melonpan

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 03:26 AM

hello. i guess this might be a pm, but just in case anyone else has other thoughts, etc, i will be posting this.

i am a closet fruitcake eater and i am excited that i will be making them for the first time!

i decided to make two sets, following andiesenjis two recipes...

i am following the recipes but with changes (i think/hope that they are minor enough). would anyone care to comment on the changes?

for the white fruitcake: the sweet white wine called for will be cream sherry. will this matter? ive never made anything boozy and i dont know anything about wines, etc. but i am guessing this is alright. i tried to find this thing called "Carmel Cream White" called for at the local stores (two places) but had no luck and got dizzy trying to figure out what is a sweet white wine. (whats a chardonnay? riesling? yes, i am so clueless. but i also dont drink...)

for the cocoa fruitcake: i will not be baking this in the pans called for. instead i will be using tiny mini loaf pans. depending on the amount, i will split this up between 4-6 loaves. ive never attempted this sort of change before. but i think i can pull it off. the question is shall i lower the temperature? i will definitely be keeping an eye on it and probably checking half an hour in and every 5 minutes after that, but anybody have any comments about this?

other than these two changes, i will be following the recipes to a T. macerating for two weeks, steaming, soaking for months, etc. whatever the recipes say, except for the two changes cited above... im not going to screw these babies up! (im in the midst of obtaining some citron, even!)

thanks in advance to those with more experience baking who are able to help out with any comments.
"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo

#63 andiesenji

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 05:35 PM

[quote name='melonpan' date='Oct 17 2004, 03:26 AM']
hello. i guess this might be a pm, but just in case anyone else has other thoughts, etc, i will be posting this.

i am a closet fruitcake eater and i am excited that i will be making them for the first time!

i decided to make two sets, following andiesenjis two recipes...

i am following the recipes but with changes (i think/hope that they are minor enough). would anyone care to comment on the changes?

for the white fruitcake: the sweet white wine called for will be cream sherry. will this matter? ive never made anything boozy and i dont know anything about wines, etc. but i am guessing this is alright. i tried to find this thing called "Carmel Cream White" called for at the local stores (two places) but had no luck and got dizzy trying to figure out what is a sweet white wine. (whats a chardonnay? riesling? yes, i am so clueless. but i also dont drink...)[quote name='melonpan' date='Oct 17 2004, 03:26 AM']

-----------------
Any sweet wine is okay. The white concord by Manichevitz or a combination of sweet muscat and sherry or whatever.
I shop at a lot of stores that cater to Jewish residents and they carry a full line of the sweet wines, both red and white that are traditional and usually on sale near the holidays.

Heck, you could pour in a bottle of Thunderbird and a little brandy and that would work too.

Edited by andiesenji, 17 October 2004 - 05:36 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#64 melonpan

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 01:37 AM

the cocoa fruitcake has been glazed and is cooling on racks as i write.

<center><img src="http://www.rawbw.com....jpg"></center>

i tasted a bit and its delicious!

thank you.

comments:

it is a lot of batter! it was enough batter for 9 mini loaves.

the baking took pretty much about an hour. at 30 minutes, i turned the temp down to 325, but at the 45 minute mark turned it back up to 350 since it was still pretty wet at that point. at the hour mark they were just about done and i pulled them out then. next time ill just keep a close eye and bake at 350 all the way.

i had started the glaze just after i popped them into the oven. by the time the hour was up, the glaze was cool enough to touch.

the only change to the recipe i would make is to simplify the glaze... you dont need the water. youre making an orange jam and the water (which you are boiling away during the reduction) is just making the process take more time since orange juice has a lot of water in it to begin with.

i cant wait to begin the white fruitcake!

:wub:

thanks again andiesenji! what a nice family recipe. i am glad you shared it with us. it is amazing how many generations that recipe has lasted! from 1690!!! wow!
"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo

#65 alligande

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 07:23 AM

I could not understand the fruit cake jokes when I first moved to the states. My own family took great pride in the making of rich fruit cakes for weddings and christmas, of course well in advance so they could be well fed. But there was also a whole range of "daily cakes" (cakes are still consumed daily on my familys farm) such as date and walnut, tea cakes etc that were not as a rich but still moist.
I to had a tradtional fruit cake for my wedding, although my future american husband was a little worried about it.

#66 andiesenji

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 11:08 AM

the cocoa fruitcake has been glazed and is cooling on racks as i write.

<center><img src="http://www.rawbw.com....jpg"></center>

i tasted a bit and its delicious!

thank you.

comments:

it is a lot of batter!  it was enough batter for 9 mini loaves.


the only change to the recipe i would make is to simplify the glaze...  you dont need the water.  youre making an orange jam and the water (which you are boiling away during the reduction) is just making the process take more time since orange juice has a lot of water in it to begin with.

i cant wait to begin the white fruitcake!

:wub:

thanks again andiesenji!  what a nice family recipe.  i am glad you shared it with us.  it is amazing how many generations that recipe has lasted!  from 1690!!!  wow!

View Post


Wow! Melonpan, your photo is great and the cakes look scrumptious.
It does make a lot of batter - the bundt pans I use are the large ones, 10 to 12 cup max and the molds for the trees, large and small use a lot of batter.
It is also enough for a full-sized sheet pan to make a thin cake for cutting into shapes. When I do those I completely cover them with chocolate, rather like a petit four.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#67 Sobaicecream

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Posted 19 October 2004 - 12:02 AM

melonpan, you don't have to be a closet fruitcake eater! Who wouldn't want to eat your beautiful-looking cakes. What a perfect deep golden color. I was also pretty inspired by this post to make my own fruitcake. Right now I'm letting my dried fruit soak in rum for a couple of weeks. Can't wait to get started.

I was curious though--and this question could be directed at andiesenji as well, or anyone else--about the combination of cocoa and fruitcake. I've never had it before. Is the chocolate flavor quite noticeable? Or does it sort of meld with all the other flavors?

melonpan, any chance we might get a picture of the inside of one of your cakes? :smile: Or are you saving them to give away?

And please send more pictures when you finish the white fruitcake! :biggrin:

#68 viva

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 07:20 PM

I'll throw down the gauntlet here with an odd question... has anyone ever had fruit cake with lard or pork in it? Specifically a white fruit cake?

I am trying to re-create a fruit cake for a family member who grew up in Texas, and her aunt used to make a fruit cake that (as she says) "had pork in it". I ask "was it lard" and she says "I don't know... do you think you can do it?" The only other thing I can get out of her is that it wasn't actual chunks of pork.

Ideas?? I was looking at andiesenji's recipe for white fruit cake as my starter... maybe I should use freshly rendered lard in place of butter? Maybe that "second" rendering of lard (as per the e-Gullet lard recipe) that's more pork-like?
...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

#69 Swisskaese

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 08:19 AM

These recipes sound good to me:

Tea Fruitcake

This one I plan to make for Shavuot next year:

Free Range Fruitcake

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I just noticed that I had inserted the wrong URL for the Tea Fruitcake recipe. Here is the correct one.

Tea Fruitcake

#70 crouching tyler

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 09:29 AM

Oh, this is so affirming. For the past several years, I have been making the fruitcake that my mother has made for years, based on a recipe from Aunty Pat. The recipe I use looks very similiar to the Black Cake - not surprising since Aunty Pat is Jamaican. We have always called it Plum Pudding or Christmas Pudding, though.

The recipe I use makes vast amounts, and so far, I have found exactly one person outside of my small family who enjoys it. But I am convinced to continue making it, regardless. And this thread not only affirms my decision, but also reminds me that I need to start mincing some fruit!

So, we ususally serve the Plum Pudding with Hard Sauce - a totally sinful mix of confectioners sugar, butter, brandy and sherry. The hard sauce is usually just served in a scoop or a schmear alongside the cake. Is this something that other people do? It seems like many of the fruitcakes recipes here involve icing instead.

By the way, while he doesn't really like plum pudding, my husband has developed a habit of putting a dollop of hard sauce in his coffee. :smile:

edit for grammar

Edited by crouching tyler, 27 October 2004 - 09:36 AM.

Robin Tyler McWaters

#71 chefcyn

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 02:38 PM

Just the other day, someone gave me the bare outlines of their "West Indian fruitcake" preparations, which they were starting now -- soak yellow and red raisins, currants, pitted dates and pitted prunes in a mixture of 2/3 white rum and 1/3 port or Madeira.  For the rum, I was told to use "overproof" but have forgotten what that meant -- is it just very high proof?

Does anyone have a good recipe for stollen?

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The 1981 December issue of Gourmet Magazine had a great Stollen recipe that I used for years, but I'm not sure where I put it--I had lost it once during a move, then got a copy from the library--It's somewhere is one of these recipe files...I'll find it and post it.

I also have a recipe for Chocolate Rum Balls made with Fruitcake! It's a good one to use up the not-so good cakes that come in the mail and sit around all winter. I'll find it and post it, too--they are probably oth on my computer at home--one of these days, I'd like to have all my eggs in one basket--so to speak, or at least all my recipes on all my machines.

Here is the Rum Ball Recipe:

Chocolate Walnut Rum Balls

1 lb. fruitcake, sliced and cut into 2-inch pieces
(I used one of those they sell in gift shops, that have red ruffled parchment paper under them, and wrapped in plastic. Someone had given it to me.)
2 cups (8 ounces) walnut pieces
3 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
3 oz Dark Chocolate bars, chopped
1 /4 cup rum

Place fruitcake and nuts in bowl of food processor fitted with metal chopping blade. Cover and pulse until mixture is very finely chopped. Transfer to mixing bowl.

Add 2 cups confectioners' sugar and chocolate. Mix well with fork. Add rum and mix until ingredients are uniformly moistened. Add a little more rum, if needed, to hold ingredients together.

Line baking sheet with foil, parchment or waxed paper. Shape fruitcake mixture into 1-inch balls by rolling between palms of hands. Repeat to make about 50 balls. Place remaining confectioners’ sugar in shallow bowl. Roll balls in sugar until thoroughly coated. Transfer to waxed paper-lined baking sheet and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Store rum balls in covered container for up to 3 days. Makes 50 rum balls

(though I didn't get 50 balls--more like 30 I guess I made them bigger than 1")

Edited by chefcyn, 28 October 2004 - 05:14 PM.

It's not the destination, but the journey!

#72 chefcyn

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 05:56 PM

Here's another "fruitcake" treasure from my Mom's recipe box that we make every year at Christmas--she got this when we lived in Cuba in the 50s, doing recipe exchanges with other Navy wives:

Whiskey Lizzies

Place 1 1/2 c seedless raisins in a bowl, add 1/4 c bourbon
Mix and let sit for 1 hour.

Mix and sift:
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves

Mix:
1/2 c butter
1/2 c light brown sugar

Add 2 eggs, beat.
Beat in the flour mixture.
Stir in the Raisins and...
1/2 lb pecans
1/4 c candied citron
1/2 lb candied cherries
Place spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for about 15 min. Makes about 6 1/2 doz.

We've made them with other candied fruit than the cherries, too like pineapple and they were good--like bites of fruitcake.
It's not the destination, but the journey!

#73 andiesenji

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 07:31 PM

melonpan, you don't have to be a closet fruitcake eater! Who wouldn't want to eat your beautiful-looking cakes. What a perfect deep golden color. I was also pretty inspired by this post to make my own fruitcake. Right now I'm letting my dried fruit soak in rum for a couple of weeks. Can't wait to get started.

I was curious though--and this question could be directed at andiesenji as well, or anyone else--about the combination of cocoa and fruitcake. I've never had it before. Is the chocolate flavor quite noticeable? Or does it sort of meld with all the other flavors?

melonpan, any chance we might get a picture of the inside of one of your cakes? :smile: Or are you saving them to give away?

And please send more pictures when you finish the white fruitcake! :biggrin:

View Post


The cocoa is definitely present. Think of a dense devil's food cake, very moist, with fruit in it.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#74 andiesenji

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 07:35 PM

I'll throw down the gauntlet here with an odd question... has anyone ever had fruit cake with lard or pork in it?  Specifically a white fruit cake?

I am trying to re-create a fruit cake for a family member who grew up in Texas, and her aunt used to make a fruit cake that (as she says) "had pork in it".  I ask "was it lard" and she says "I don't know... do you think you can do it?"  The only other thing I can get out of her is that it wasn't actual chunks of pork. 

Ideas??  I was looking at andiesenji's recipe for white fruit cake as my starter... maybe I should use freshly rendered lard in place of butter?  Maybe that "second" rendering of lard (as per the e-Gullet lard recipe) that's more pork-like?

View Post


There are a lot of traditional English cakes that use beef suet. Lard has been used in a number of cakes and fruit cakes. I have to look them up, as I don't seem to have any in my computer.
As soon as I find one I will post it.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#75 melonpan

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 01:29 AM

ordered some citron from king arthurs site on the 19th. ugh. the mail is taking forever. anyone have a favourite source for my future batches? :D
"Bibimbap shappdy wappdy wap." - Jinmyo

#76 andiesenji

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 08:23 AM

I have to dig a bit more to find the cake recipes in my files that include lard.
Meanwhile, I found this one. at Recipe Source.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#77 andiesenji

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 08:46 AM

I just called my aunt and asked her about pork in cake. She says her grandmother, Meemaw, made mincemeat with ground cooked pork and used it in cakes, pies, fried pies and steamed puddings. She also made a cake with cornmeal and mincemeat. She is going to go through her recipe files and see what she can find.
She said she will call me later today and give me the ingredients for the mincemeat.
If it is what I remember my grandmother making (dad's side of the family), it is delicious mincemeat.

I make mincemeat and use beef jerky, ground of course, in it and it also makes a very nice mincemeat, not nearly as sweet as the stuff in the jars.

More to come!!!
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

#78 viva

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 08:17 AM

***thanks*** andiesenji!

I saw several recipes out on the internet for pork cakes, they seem to vary between chopped pork fat liquefied in boiling water (kind of a "lard-rendering-for-dummies") vs. ground pork sausage, either of which are in lieu of butter or shortening. I'd love to try a "Meemaw" recipe!

It was kind of interesting, all of the recipes I saw out there were listed as very old, early 1900's or late 1800's, mostly on "traditional" or "legacy" recipe web sites. I like the idea of digging up an old way of cooking and reviving it.
...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

#79 helenjp

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 08:13 PM

Oh no, my entire post just disappeared into thin air...

Just about to order fruit for cakes (should do it earlier, but I have to wait for the first paycheck of the fall semester every year :sad: )

Which fruits/combinations do you like?

I sometimes use my mother's and grandmother's recipes, sometimes more modern recipes, but I rarely use currants, and never many of them (they taste bitter to me), and always add quite a lot of shredded fresh ginger.

One of the simplest and most successful recipes I've found on the net is this British ginger ale fruit cake

#80 viva

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 08:31 AM

I'm linking over to a thread on the Southern Food Culture forum on Pork Cake...here. It's a marvelous recipe that Andie shared for Pork Mincemeat Cake. It is, quite simply, one of the best fruit cakes I've ever had. Don't be put off by the pork! You don't really taste pork, but it adds a richness and flavor that's missing from a lot of other recipes. It's definitely made a fruit cake and pork fat convert out of me.
...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

#81 Rover

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 12:19 PM

Hello, Suvir - I wonder if you would mind sharing your recipe for Susan Auntie's fruitcake? Your desciption is most seductive to a fruitcake fan.
Thanks so much!
Rover :biggrin:

#82 foodie52

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 06:29 PM

I'm going to make the Jamaican Black Cake. If I divide the batter between smaller pans ( say, 8 inch springforms instead of 10 inch and the rest of the batter in mini loaf pans ) how long must I bake them?
The recipe says 2 hours for the 10 inch springforms, so should I reduce baking time to about 1 1/2 hours? Or just do the "jab with a skewer" test?

#83 Rover

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Posted 09 November 2004 - 04:19 PM

This is the holiday fruitcake I've been making over the past 2 or 3 years and it gets raves every time. The name says it all! Full of the rich flavours of subtly sweet dried fruit, delicate spices and soft nuts; it is heady with the perfume of just enough bourbon. It doesn't keep as long as the traditional cakes, but will last a couple of weeks if stored in the refrigerator.


Golden New-Fashioned Dried Fruitcake with Cashews, Pistachios and Bourbon

Recipe By :Ragen Daley - "In The Sweet Kitchen"

Do make the effort to find unsulphured dried fruit, as the flavour is so much better. If this is impossible, try at least to buy organic fruit

1 1/2 cups chopped dried peaches
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped dried pears
3/4 cup plump golden raisins
1/2 cup Muscat or Lexia raisins
3 tbsps finely chopped candied orange zest -- homemade or best quality
1 cup bourbon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground mace
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups lightly roasted unsalted cashews
2 cups shelled unsalted pistachios
1 ripe pear
1 cup unsalted butter -- room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs -- room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp Pure Vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut -- optional

*All of the dried fruit should be chopped to about the size of large raisins.

The day before you plan to bake the cakes, combine the chopped peaches, apricots, pears, both types of raisins and the candied zest in a non-reactive jug or bowl. Add the bourbon and stir to coat the fruit. Cover tightly and leave for 7-8 hours, tossing occasionally to distribute the alcohol.

Preheat the oven to 300F. Grease two (9 ½ x 5 ½ inches) metal loaf pans and line the bottoms and up the two long sides with pieces of parchment paper. Let the paper overhang the edges of the sides by an inch or so. Lightly grease the paper, then set the pans aside. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and spices into a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, finely grind 1 ½ cups of the cashews; add to the sifted flour mixture. Coarsely chop the remaining ½ cup cashews and the pistachios. Set these aside. Peel, core and coarsely grate the pear, then add it to the macerating fruit and bourbon mixture.

In the bowl of an electric or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. The batter may seem to curdle at this point, but it will come together beautifully as the dry ingredients are added. Fold in the flour and ground cashew mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl often, making sure you reach the very bottom. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.

If your stand mixer or other mixing bowl is too small to accommodate the batter as well as the macerating fruit and the chopped nuts, transfer to a larger bowl. Fold in the fruit and nuts, including the coconut, if using, in several stages, evenly distributing the goodies. Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and smooth the tops.

Set the pans in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, rotating the pans several times during the baking so the cakes bake evenly. The tops of the finished cakes should be firm and slightly springy, and a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of each cake should come out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 minutes then turn them out and cool completely before wrapping and storing. The cakes are beset when aged for 2 days in the refrigerator before being cut and served. Well-wrapped and chilled, this light cake will last up to 2 ½ weeks. For the very best flavour, let it come to room temperature before serving.

Rover

#84 Amuse Bouche

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 10:05 AM

I made the Jamaican Spiced Rum Cake from the New York Times Cookbook this year, and judging from the mini muffins that I made, it's my favorite recipe so far. I used brandy instead of rum, and I cut WAY down on citron -- substituting 1/2 c. candied lemon peel and about 1/3 c. citron instead, and I left out the glace cherries altogether. It has figs, dates, prunes, raisins, currants, candied orange peel and toasted almonds in it, and it makes two loaf cakes (plus 6 mini muffins). Another "variation" on fruitcake is Panforte, which is another favorite of mine.

#85 Amuse Bouche

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 10:12 AM

Also forgot to say that a good source for spices, dried fruits and peel is www.kalustyans.com

#86 Swisskaese

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 12:27 PM

I just stumbled across a very interesting fruitcake recipe. I am going to try this if I can find dried cherries and dried cranberries.

Butternut Squash Fruit Cake

Edited by Swisskaese, 16 November 2004 - 02:27 PM.


#87 Kris

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 10:35 AM

I abhor typical fruitcake with the whole pieces of fruits like candied cherries (red & green), citron and other fruits. I find them dry and typically lacking in any flavor.

Last December, my boss made a southern style fruit cake and she didn't even add any whiskey to it. It was just awful.

However I am a big fan of the Jamaican/West Indian style fruitcake which many of you have mentioned here. I have a large plastic bucket filled to the brim with pounds and pounds of ground up prunes, raisins, glacee cherries, dried mixed peel and currants, along with brown sugar, rum and port wine just waiting for late November to arrive (which is when I'll start baking).

Last year black cakes were my biggest selling cakes during the holiday season. I actually ran out of them before I had time to make more for Christmas. The fruit needs time to macerate (I've been soaking some of the fruit since last December and I added more to it yesterday) and the baked cakes need a few weeks to "mellow" after the rum & wine is poured into them.

To answer a couple of questions posted earlier in the thread:

1. Burnt sugar is used give black cake its color. It's also known as "browning" and is merely caramel color. It produces a darker colored cake than homemade burnt sugar (which is made by literally caramelizing white sugar in a saucepan with a little water over the stove). I prefer the commercial preparations since the homemade one imparts a burned taste to the cake that I don't like. Plus I like the darker color of a black cake made with commercial browning.

Here are some sources to order commercial "burnt sugar" and/or "browning" for those who don't have access to West Indian markets: http://www.sams247.com, http://www.buygracef...Browning_bottle

2. Overproof rum is stronger than regular rum. For last years batch of black cakes, I macerated my fruits in port wine & J. Wray and Nephew overproof Jamaican rum. That rum is enough to knock your socks off! I also used this rum to liberally "bathe" the finished cakes. They were a bit too strong for my taste. *whew* It took several weeks before they mellowed to a taste that I could actually enjoy. J. Wray and Nephew is expensive to find here in NYC (it's about $26 for a liter). But my sister brought me back several bottles from her trip to Jamaica last year, which cut my costs considerably. I'm going to Jamaica in October and will bring back a few bottles myself. But my use of it will be very limited this time around!

This year I'm macerating my fruits in regular rum. LOL

3. Many of the Caribbean islands (mainly those that have a British history) have a version of black cake. I read somewhere that it is derived from the English plum pudding but it was modified over time. That seems plausible to me. Of course each island thinks its version is the best. I've had versions from Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, St. Vincent - regardless of the island, I think black cake is delicious when it's made by a competent baker, regardless of ethnicity.

Edited by Kris, 25 July 2005 - 10:39 AM.


#88 Smithy

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 03:47 PM

This thread is a real eye-opener. I admit to being one of those folks who think "fruitcake? eww!" because the immediate recollection is of those dry things with chunks of unnatural fruit. Why, why? I ask you, would anyone make green cherries (if that's what they are)...and maraschino cherries are an abomination. Gaah.

I do, however, like some fruits in breads. Stollen is wonderful stuff. Date cake is wonderful stuff. It's hard to go wrong with nuts. So as I read this, I think maybe, just maybe there are fruitcakes worth eating out there. I'm pretty sure they don't come in stores, though.

One of my favorite fruited cake recipes might just barely be within the realm of fruitcake, as I read this thread, because it has dried cherries, raisins, walnuts and bourbon. It's wonderful - a family favorite - and easy to boot: Liv's Mother's Kentucky Cake from the recipe collection at The Splendid Table's website.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#89 amccomb

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 01:01 PM

Hello!

I am hoping to make a couple of kinds of fruit cake this yearfor the Christmas season, but I remember reading that you needed to make them about 6 months in advance in order to "cure" them by basting them with some sort of liquor every so often.

I am open to trying a variety of different kinds of cakes and comparing them when the time comes, so I would love to get some recipe suggestions (for someone who loves to bake, but doesn't have any professional experience or culinary education).

I was originally thinking of something with a dark, almost gingerbread-like spicy/molasses-y flavor - very moist and with high quality fruits. But I've been reading about some other types of fruit cakes, and am intrigued.

Also, can anyone tell me where I can order some good quality fruits, rather than buying the scarey red and green "fruit" at the grocery store?

I am also interested in the "curing" process. Do all fruit cakes share this? How often do you baste them? How do you store them? What liquor is used?

Thanks in advance!

#90 Pat W

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 09:32 PM

I am also interested in the "curing" process.  Do all fruit cakes share this?  How often do you baste them?  How do you store them?  What liquor is used?

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I'm so glad you started this thread. I too, could use some help.

Many years ago I used to make fruit cakes for Christmas every year. The recipe I had was for a dark, spicy cake with lots of nuts and yes, the scary, candied fruits available at the grocery store.

I always baked them 6-8 weeks before Christmas & wrapped them in cheese cloth soaked with either brandy or bourbon (as I remember, I preferred the bourbon for this), then sealed them tightly in tin foil & stored them in a dark cupboard. Once a week, I would moisten (well, it was more like drench) the cheesecloth with more bourbon, re-wrap in the tinfoil & return to the cupboard. By Christmas they were quite lovely. Fruitcake jokes aside, people actually liked them. It was always a happy thing if they managed to outlast the holidays. A fragrant slice of fruitcake accompanied by a strong cup of coffee was a lovely breakfast on a snowy January morning.

Then life got complicated & I had to cut down on my Christmas baking. Somehow, over the years, I managed to lose the recipe. I has to be somewhere, but for the life of me I can't find it. Life is still complicated, but in the last few years I've come to miss making fruitcakes.

I too will be following this thread hoping for help.

Sigh, I also lost a really wonderful pfferneusse recipe, but I guess that would be another thread.

pat, who sorely regrets her disorganized past.
I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance
Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

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