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The Fruitcake Topic

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352 replies to this topic

#91 cathrynapple

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 10:18 PM

i use a pound cake base, and use just enough batter to hold the glace cherries, raisins, pecans, golden raisins, and other stuff together. i add all teh sweet spices. it shoudl be very heavy.

wrap it in foil and douse in brandy every week or so. yum.

#92 mizducky

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 10:28 PM

Alton Brown had a lovely episode of "Good Eats" all about fruitcake, including a recipe featuring all natural dried fruit, a goodly amount of booze, plus a routine for two weeks worth of dousing with more booze: link here.

Mind you, I have not had an opportunity to make this recipe myself, but as a hardcore fan of this much-maligned baked good, I thought the recipe looked pretty darn promising.

#93 petite tête de chou

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 10:36 PM

There's some pretty good ideas here...click. :smile:
Shelley: Would you like some pie?
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#94 rickster

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 06:11 AM

One source for fruit is the King Arthur Flour catalogue website. They have much better citron orange and lemon peels than you can get in the stores.

#95 amccomb

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 08:21 AM

I'm wondering if I should glace (is that a verb?) my own fruits and if it would be worth it. Has anyone tried it? Any technique tips?

#96 joaquin

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 09:11 AM

The Alton Brown recipe listed above is excellent. I have been baking and giving out friut cakes for years. People will remember the gift forever. I live in California and get excellent dried fruit from Peteluma; very fresh. Traditional fruits as well as pluots, several varieties of peaches, cherries, etc Mail order available with free delivery over $24 at www.oldriverfruits.com

Also you can use your fruitcake batter to make drop cookies and distribute to those who are not "worthy" of their own cake. You can probably get about 24 good sized cookies out of the Alton Brown batter.

#97 Mette

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 11:43 AM

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?

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I am feeling inspired by this thread to start thinking about chrismas cake. I make a very traditional dark english fruit cake. I can't help you with a source for fruit, but I too am looking for a good online source for dried fruit, especially whole candied orange and lemon peel (makes a world of difference), preferably in the UK, that will ship internationally. Most standard ingredients for fruit cake aren't widely available in Denmark.

Thanks!

If there's any interest, I'll post the recipe for the fruit cake. We have it every christmas and had it as a wedding cake as well :-)

/Mette

#98 Pat W

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 11:57 AM


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?

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If there's any interest, I'll post the recipe for the fruit cake. We have it every christmas and had it as a wedding cake as well :-)

/Mette

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Yes! Expressing interest here.... it would be lovely if you could post the recipe.

pat w
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#99 jackal10

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 12:58 PM

Xmas cake recipe

In my youth it was improved by the additon of "special spice" (good quality hash).
Slice thinly if you do this.

#100 andiesenji

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 01:39 PM

I posted some recipes last year, including this one which is quite different:
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This is my cocoa fruit cake.
I have recreated this from a recipe written in difficult-to-read, spidery handwriting in the journal of an ancestor with the entry dated 1690.
It is important to use Dutch process cocoa. I use King Arthur Flour's Double Dutch Cocoa and Black Cocoa Half and Half.
When glazed with the glaze at the end of the recipe, this cake will keep for several days at room temp and will stay incredibly moist with just a loose cover.
I have in the past made this cake ahead of time and wrapped it well in Aluminum foil and kept it in a cool place for 6 or more weeks. However I now live alone. When my family was still all together, I could not keep it more than a couple of days......to give you an idea of the way things used to be, the original "receipt" called for 6 pounds of twice-boulted flour and 3 full pound loaves of sugar well beaten..... 2 pounds of butter and 3 dozen eggs. I have cut it down to a manageable size.
FRUITED COCOA CAKE original recipe ca. 1690
1 cup BUTTER unsalted
1-1/2 tsp SALT kosher
1 tsp CINNAMON ground
1 tsp CLOVES, ground
1 tsp NUTMEG, ground
1 tsp ALLSPICE, ground
6 Tbsp COCOA, Dutch process
3 cups superfine SUGAR
4 large EGGS
3 Tsp BAKING SODA
4 cups, sifted FLOUR
1-1/2 cups CURRANTS
1-1/2 cups DRIED CHERRIES
1-1/2 cups WALNUTS, chopped or pecans or macadamia nuts, etc.
3 cups APPLESAUCE, unsweetened chunky style if you can find it, homemade is even better.
Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease and flour a deep 11" x 15" pan or 2 10-inch square pans or 2 holiday mold pans.
In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, salt, spices, cocoa and sugar. beat until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each one.
Mix baking soda with flour. reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of the flour.
Instead of sifting the flour you can simply put it in a large bowl and run a wire whisk through it which does the same as sifting, i.e. fluffing it up a bit.
Add flour to batter alternately with applesauce.
Sprinkle the fruit and nuts with the reserved flour and fold into cake batter.
Pour batter into pan and bake for about 1 hour or until cake tests done. (deeper pans will require longer baking.
ORANGE GLAZE
GRATED PEEL OF 2 ORANGES
1/3 CUP SUGAR
1/4 CUP WATER
1 CUP ORANGE JUICE
3 TABLESPOONS GRAND MARNIER LIQUOR OR BRANDY
Combine ingredients in saucepan, bring to simmer, stirring constantly, continue cooking until liquid is reduced by 1/2. Drizzle over cake ( I use a turkey baster and a perforated spoon as the glaze is too hot to dip my fingers into which is usually the way I drizzle icing . After the glaze has set, decorate edges of the cake and the plate edges with powdered sugar sifted thru a fine strainer.

Edited by andiesenji, 26 August 2005 - 01:45 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
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#101 andiesenji

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 01:47 PM

Melonpan tried the cocoa fruitcake and posted photos in the topic that was linked above.

I also posted a recipe for a mincemeat made with pork, another family recipe that can be incorporated into a cake. It is in a different thread, I will have to look for the reference. I thought I had put the recipe in recipegullet but it is not there.

Edited by andiesenji, 26 August 2005 - 01:49 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

#102 petite tête de chou

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 01:48 PM

Xmas cake recipe

In my youth it was improved by the additon of "special spice" (good quality hash).
Slice thinly if you do this.

View Post



Now THAT would make my Christmas! :biggrin:
Shelley: Would you like some pie?
Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

#103 sanrensho

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 02:27 PM

Melonpan tried the cocoa fruitcake and posted photos in the topic that was linked above.


Thanks for reposting the recipe. I really like the idea of a cocoa fruitcake. Something a little different from the usual fruitcake. Not that I have anything against fruitcake. :laugh:

The cocoa fruitcake is definitely being added to my "to do" list.
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#104 Syrah

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 05:02 PM

I have been using the same recipe for years. It is a boiled dark fruit cake. Basically you soak the fruit and nut mixture for 10 days. It has no glace cherries, but glace pineapple and apricot are included, as well as prunes, dates, sultanas, almonds, walnuts... Grand Marnier is the booze of choice. If this appeals, let me know and I will post it for you.

#105 Mette

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 02:04 AM


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?

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If there's any interest, I'll post the recipe for the fruit cake. We have it every christmas and had it as a wedding cake as well :-)

/Mette

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Yes! Expressing interest here.... it would be lovely if you could post the recipe.

pat w

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The recipe is now in recipeGullet click

I'm sure a bit of jackal10's 'special spice' would add a certain je-ne-se-quois (and the rich flavour of the cake would mask the nasty flavour), but as this is a family oriented site.......

Anyway, all this talk about fruit cake has led my Husband to start talking about getting the christmas pudding under way - looking forward to it already

Edited by Mette, 29 August 2005 - 02:05 AM.


#106 helenjp

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 04:22 AM

Glace fruits: others may have had better experiences, but the one time I used glace fruits, the finished cake was just too sweet to eat, even though I cut the sugar quantity in half to compensate for the sweetness of the glace fruit.

If I were going to use them again, I think I might douse them in boiling water to get rid of some of the sugar, then soak them in alcohol or dry them out.

Candied orange and lemon peels - it's not hard to do it yourself, but I've taken to adding shredded fresh citrus peel. Tangerine/tangelo is especially nice.

#107 Syrah

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 04:26 AM

Glace fruits: others may have had better experiences, but the one time I used glace fruits, the finished cake was just too sweet to eat, even though I cut the sugar quantity in half to compensate for the sweetness of the glace fruit.

If I were going to use them again, I think I might douse them in boiling water to get rid of some of the sugar, then soak them in alcohol or dry them out.

Candied orange and lemon peels - it's not hard to do it yourself, but I've taken to adding shredded fresh citrus peel. Tangerine/tangelo is especially nice.

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I find the ones you can buy in the supermarket in packets are far more sticky sugary. I buy mine from the healthfood store, and I haven't noticed them being overly sugary at all.

#108 Kevin Weeks

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 10:23 AM

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.

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Amccomb,

Every Thanksgiving my father would make Fruitcake (which no one particularly liked except him) and my mother would make Bourbon Cake (which everyone loved).

The Bourbon Cake matures at about six weeks and though it will keep longer (if you keep dousing it) it doesn't get significantly better.

Here's the Bourbon Cake recipe: http://seriouslygood...urbon-cake.html
Kevin
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Visit my blog at Seriously Good.

#109 Badiane

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 03:04 PM

My husband is a English confectioner and baker, has made several thousand fruitcakes in his lifetime...he has been leaning over my shoulder having a hairy coniption for the last five minutes until I promised to pass on this...

Never, ever ever pour booze over the cake. Soak the fruit in the booze of choice, preferably for a few days. Don't pour the booze over the cake, don't baste it. Just soak the fruit.

Why?

Because pouring booze on the cake makes it soggy and too hard to stick the marzipan to. It also tastes like raw liquor, and can be harsh and unpleasant. And THAT, he says, is why people don't like fruitcake :smile:

Me, I chop it in bits, soak it in booze and cover it with pouring custard. Tastes pretty good to me.

And Pat W....PM me and remind me for pfefferneuse recipes...I have about 40 of them...tell me what yours was like (big, small, hard, soft) and I will see if I have a match for you.

Edited by Badiane, 12 September 2005 - 03:06 PM.

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#110 Pat W

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 08:37 PM

My husband is a English confectioner and baker, has made several thousand fruitcakes in his lifetime...he has been leaning over my shoulder having a hairy coniption for the last five minutes until I promised to pass on this...

Never, ever ever pour booze over the cake.  Soak the fruit in the booze of choice, preferably for a few days.  Don't pour the booze over the cake, don't baste it.  Just soak the fruit. 

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OK, I have to press the point just a little... Does this also include wrapping the cake in brandy moistened (or maybe soaked) cheese cloth? ...which technically would be neither pouring nor basting?

Just looking for a loophole here.

pat w.

P.S. Just sent my first PM, hope I did it right.

Edited by Pat W, 12 September 2005 - 08:38 PM.

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Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

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#111 jackal10

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 11:56 PM

With all respect I pour booze on my cake, and I like it.
Never had problems with sogginess or getting the marzipan to stick. - its not that much booze, and it soaks in well.
I do brush the cake with apricot glaze before putting on the marzipan.

Of course, it has to be good booze. If you wouldn't drink it don't put it on the cake/

#112 Kevin Weeks

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 05:23 AM

Because pouring booze on the cake makes it soggy and too hard to stick the marzipan to.  It also tastes like raw liquor, and can be harsh and unpleasant.  And THAT, he says, is why people don't like fruitcake  :smile:

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I've never had marzipan on a fruitcake and I can say with certainty that it was the fruit in the fruitcake that no one liked.

As far as booze, if you add so much it gets soggy then you're going to have a soggy cake. Seems pretty irrefutable. If you add less booze it doesn't get soggy because the booze evaporates as time goes by leaving behind the flavor behind.
Kevin
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#113 Char

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 01:53 PM

I've never had marzipan on a fruitcake and I can say with certainty that it was the fruit in the fruitcake that no one liked.

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Oh, you're missing out. In Trinidad, fruitcakes are used both as wedding cakes and Christmas cakes. The cakes aren't very sweet, almost bitter, but the bitterness balances the sweetness of the coating (of marzipan) and decoration (royal icing). If you find fruitcakes too sweet and one dimensional, try this technique.

As for the liquor, I use Meyer's rum. I think part of the reason people don't like cakes with alcohol is because the alcohol has a high proof. For cakes such as these, I prefer to use lower proof liquours (like Meyer's rum as opposed to Bacardi 151 rum) or liqueurs.

But most importantly (as jackal said), if I won't drink it, I don't put on the cake. If you want to cheapen the cost of the cake, use less fruit. Don't use cheap liquour.

#114 andiesenji

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 08:37 PM

Regarding the cocoa fruit cake recipe I posted earlier. It also freezes well and keeps for at least 10 months.
This past weekend I found one in the freezer that I made last November - it got pushed to the back of one of the baskets and was masquerading as something else.
For some reason I didn't rotate the stuff in that basket on my regular schedule and missed the cake.
I let it thaw in the refrigerator and this evening took over to my neighbors who had invited me for dinner.
It was still good.
"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
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#115 JeanneCake

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 02:34 AM

I've made - for the first time - a fruitcake for an upcoming wedding. I used the client's recipe, which called for splashing the fruit (currents, dried cherries and mixed raisins in this particular recipe) with brandy, let it stand overnight and adding it to the cake batter. I did a little checking into recipes and noticed that some call for marinating the fruit for a long time before baking (3-5 days), and those recipes need to ripen for about a week before eating; others with less marinating time need weeks or months to ripen.

So now I'm curious....What is happening during the ripening process? What if you don't wait as long as you should before you cut into the cake - is the cake too dry? too "hot" with alcohol? Too wet and hard to cut? What is it about the longer soak in alcohol that makes some of these recipes ready after a week and others not?

#116 PassionateChefsDie

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 04:13 AM

So now I'm curious....What is happening during the ripening process?  What if you don't wait as long as you should before you cut into the cake - is the cake too dry? too "hot" with alcohol?  Too wet and hard to cut? What is it about the longer soak in alcohol that makes some of these recipes ready after a week and others not?

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I thought you marinated the whole cake which makes more sense to me as the alcohol would preserve the cake but once the alcohol is cooked out would it have any effect at all?
I have an xmas pudding thats is matured for several months raw thats then cooked! As for the reasoning behind this I can only guess its to almagamate the flavours or to reduce the alcohol content and soften the fruit.
Going on softening the fruit I can only guess that this is the reasoning for marinading the fruit. As for effect is there any difference between fruit thats been steeped for 2 days and fruit thats been steeped for 4 days! Sounds like an experiment a whole cake marinaded, fruit for several days and finally fruit for longer still.
But I honestly thought you matured the whole cake in alcohol, the longer time marinading may reduce the alcohol content but not significatly enough that you'd notice in the finished article I wouldn't of thought.
To go back to your statement too wet, this would be my guess as the length of time matured would effect the finally moisture content. I reckon the recipes aren't like for like and have varying amounts of liquid, failing that it could be simply that one cook prefers a wetter cake.
Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

#117 Redsugar

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 05:47 AM

Maceration – the term applies specifically to fruits; whereas “marinade” pertains to usage with seafood & meats.

Fruitcakes have become the object of every form of bad culinary joke – predominantly because most North Americans, exposed increasingly to little more than insipid store-bought or mail-order products, do not know (or have forgotten) what great fruitcake tastes like. In the US South, aficianados of this confection are, by tradition, fiercely proud of their fruitcakes, and disputes can become heated when it comes to which ingredients are indipensable, exactly how a cake should be mixed, and the length time it must be aged. Because of their high alcohol & sugar content, “heirloom fruitcakes” that are moistened from time to time with additional spirits and kept in sealed containers can be preserved for many years.

Purists believe that the ideal fruitcake should be baked at least one year in advance of serving. It should be wrapped well, stored in an airtight container to mellow in the refrigerator – where it’s pampered with occasional dousings of bourbon, rum or sweet (such as blackberry!) wine. Nevertheless, to venture an answer as to "why" some are ready to be eaten quite soon, even a well-made fruitcake in its infancy has the abilitiy to produce instant gratification.

Using two standard loaf pans, one of my favorite fruitcakes to bake contains orange-juice-softened dried apples & apricots, sultanas, dates, and pecans. The cakes are doused with the spirits (brandy & orange liqueur) only afterwards. Success with these cakes have been essentially invariable.

My largest fruitcake (baked in a 10-inch tube pan & two loaf pans) contains a whopping six pounds of dried fruit which is not macerated before it’s added to the batter along with ¾ cup bourbon. After the cakes have been removed from their pans, glazed & decorated, I wrap them securely in muslin cloth, over-wrap with foil, then store for at least a month before cutting. Beyond that time, I sprinkle the cloth with bourbon about every 6 weeks.

However, (as you’ve indicated), the dried fruit can, indeed, be macerated prior to being spooned into the batter. A good example recipe is supplied in Malouf’s The Hudson River Valley Cookbook (Harvard Common Press, 1998), in which dried cherries, cranberries, and golden raisins are simmered in brandy for 5 minutes, then allowed to steep. (see pp.274f.) Likewise, a baker in my area macerates his fruitcake’s almonds, raisins, currants, and dates in brandy or cognac overnight at room temp. (The pineapple is cooked on the stovetop; then brandy, cherry juice, and preserves are added.)

The optimal benefit from macerating the fruits is that the steeping provides an infusion or melding of flavours which are then imparted to the baked cake. As your post is vague regarding actual measurements & proportions used in your fruitcake, please supplement with further details. Then you’ll see the suggestions flow in this topic thread!

In the meantime, interested readers search the Arizona Daily Star Web site for an article by Rebecca J. Boten, “Serious Fruitcake.” (Originally published on Dec. 22, 2004.) I downloaded a copy several months ago: I assure you that it’s well-worth accessing.
"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

#118 joaquin

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 08:20 AM

A gift of great homemade fruitcake will be remembered forever by those who receive it. Since I live in California where great dried fruit is available at modest prices (www.oldriverfruits.com) I like to mix up the varieties---peaches, pluots, cherries, etc---and note them on the gift card. Mascerating overnight is usually enough to impart good flavor but if you want to go longer, I recommend adding 1/4 cup of alcohol every other day to keep the fruit at maximum moistness. Also when you bake remember that you can use various loaf pan sizes or even make fruitcake cookies to distribute among friends and neighbors.

#119 JeanneCake

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 12:55 PM

their recipe calls for 8 oz dried cherries, 14 oz currants, and 22 oz mixed raisins splashed with brandy (not enough to float the fruit, just enough to wet them) and held overnight. Then 12 oz butter, 12 oz brown sugar; creamed. Then add 6 beaten-to-mix eggs to the creamed butter/sugar, then add the dry ingredients which are: 12 oz a/p flour, 1 tsp baking powder, pinch salt, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg. Add 3 oz ground almonds and the zest and juice of a lemon and put it in the oven at 325 for 3.5 hours. I adjusted the recipe to make a 12" round cake and two 10" cakes for their wedding (the 12" is going to be the bottom tier, the top tiers are styro, the other two are kitchen cakes).

So I've been brushing a little brandy on them every few days; but I started to go through books (english cookbooks mostly) and found there's two basic categories of fruitcake (steamed pudds are another topic) - the ones with fruit soaked for days and the ones with the fruit soaked overnight. Since I am one of those who has not had fruitcake (good or bad... well wait - there was this awful thing my sister had got from a Harry and David gift basket but that cannot be the same thing as what I've made!!). I don't know what this is supposed to taste like or what the texture is supposed to be like. The wedding is next weekend, should I stop brushing with brandy soon or douse it right before I put on the marzipan and fondant?

Thanks for the help!

#120 PassionateChefsDie

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 01:24 PM

Since I am one of those who has not had fruitcake (good or bad... well wait - there was this awful thing my sister had got from a Harry and David gift basket but that cannot be the same thing as what I've made!!). I don't know what this is supposed to taste like or what the texture is supposed to be like.  The wedding is next weekend, should I stop brushing with brandy soon or douse it right before I put on the marzipan and fondant?

Thanks for the help!

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Being a big fan of Fruitcake its a difficult one to say but from your point about Alcohol "Burn" in the original posting I'd stop earlier for that reason unless you want the taste, thats going to be personal. As for good and bad and regarding texture its seems there's a multitude of ways, with the amount of eggs you've got I'd expect it to have less of a crumb and more of a bite.
If you just don't like fruitcake its a hard one I love all things like this, mince pies, xmas pudding etc I personally wouldn't like a recipe with that many eggs in.
6 eggs seems a lot for less than a 1Ib of dried goods, the fruit doesn't benefit from the eggs, not sure why the baking powder(There's barely any batter covering the fruit), from that recipe it looks like an old fashioned dense cake and will give a bounce more like xmas pudding. Less eggs will give a crumblier cake, maturing will also effect the crumb.
Hopefully RedSugar will way in before you need to know.
Over the years I've had fruitcake with a bounce when you bite into it, some that crumble as you try to eat them, some in between which is my preference! Rarely could you taste the alcohol burn, as for taste as long as it hasn't got a liquorice back note that was my only pet peeve. I'm just a marzipan freak I'd chase any of the wedding cake icing, marzipan or cake what ever part you didn't like.
Hope this helps
Stef

Edited to add
And the 3rd kind I'd probably argue the original not macerated at all, with a bit of stout in the batter! Then soaked for a month etc..

Edited by PassionateChefsDie, 11 October 2005 - 01:37 PM.

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