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Suvir Saran

The Fruitcake Topic

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You could candy your own cherries: clicky. You start with fresh cherries and they taste like cherries, not chemicals.

Also, Trader Joes sells cherries called "Rascherries" that are dried, then lightly candied and flavored with raspberry.

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<bump>

I lived in Panama several years ago, and in October, in preparation for Christmas, I recall that people started their jars of rum-soaked fruit for fruitcake. The cakes would be baked in late November/early December and aged until Christamas or given as gifts. In Panama, the fruitcake process involved grinding the macerated fruit to a paste in a spice-grinder, which was added to the batter as a puree. I never wrote down a recipe and have never found it since. Does anybody have a recipe for this kind of a cake? I have a real craving for Panamanian Fruitcake!!! Thanks!

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<bump>

I lived in Panama several years ago, and in October, in preparation for Christmas, I recall that people started their jars of rum-soaked fruit for fruitcake.  The cakes would be baked in late November/early December and aged until Christamas or given as gifts.  In Panama, the fruitcake process involved grinding the macerated fruit to a paste in a spice-grinder, which was added to the batter as a puree.  I never wrote down a recipe and have never found it since.  Does anybody have a recipe for this kind of a cake?  I have a real craving for Panamanian Fruitcake!!!  Thanks!

This sounds like what you are referring to:

Carribean Fruitcake

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As a student, a long time ago and in another place, we made the nicest fruitcake in the world: An ordianry pound cake, but with 2 oz of hash and the best part of a bottle of brandy...to be sliced thinly and eaten in small amounts..

Christmas cake must be dark and rich; thick marzipan and thin royal icing as a snow scene with tacky tradtional decorations...

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I heard that there is actually only 'one' fruit cake in existence and that it just gets keeps getting passed around and around and around :laugh:

Until it gets to me. And I eat it. All.

I adore fruitcake. :wub:

I usually make a fruity cake out of Alice Medrich's Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts; it's called California Date and Walnut Cake, and is, essentially, dates and walnuts glued together by a veil of batter. All those Philistines in my family who say "blech! fruitcake!" all seem to like it. The other thing I made last year were some "fruitcake cookies" made with mincemeat and a Royal Icing with almond paste; they tasted oh! so fruitcakey, but, perhaps because of their small size and blobby cuteness, again, went unrecognised by the anti-fruitcakers and got eaten and praised.

Suvir... :blush: ...if you are really willing to share your recipe, I would much love to have it. I, and probably my father, would be terrifically grateful!

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Here is a link to Laurie Colwin's Black Cake recipe as it appeared in Gourmet Magazine in 1988, calling for homemade burnt sugar rather than the commercially-bottled stuff.  I am always threatening to make this cake, too.

Laurie Colwin's Black Cake

I had Black Cake in Jamaica in the mid-60s.  It was served at a wedding reception with small glasses of a sweet red wine that I was only able to identify 10 years later when someone gave me a bottle of port as a gift.  (Weren't they talking about taste memory on another thread?)

The combination of Black Cake and port is made in heaven -- truly memorable.

I think I'm really going to make it this year.

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You can make Jamaican black cake and have nearly the same end result.

This is a very good recipe for it

Jamaican black cake

Yes - this recipe sounds very similar to the process, except for the wine. Also, I might gind half the fruit to try to get the same texture.

This sounds like what you are referring to:

Carribean Fruitcake

Yes! This Caribbean Fruitcake is just like it! Grind half the rum-soaked fruit and add to the batter. What is unclear to me is if you add the rum soaking liquid to the batter too. I think you probably would.

I think I am going to try both of these recipes for a taste-test. Thank you so much! My mom swears by her dry cracked stollen recipe, but after having the Panamanian fruitcake version I can never go back to that.

Thanks folks! Keep the ideas coming!


Edited by Mrs. P (log)

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More recipes please.

I adore a properly made fruitcake - but most that you purchase are ick.

I have an excellent recipe that calls for Guiness beer and I candy the fruit rind myself - I'll post if any interest.

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I usually prefer stollen. Does that count as fruit cake? Fruit bread that I eat every day during the holidays?

Epicurious has a nice recipe for stollen here. It does not have any liquor in it, which I think is the major problem with the recipe!

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In Canada, it was ALWAYS a fruitcake enclosed in marzipan

You are absolutely right Maggie. In Canada wedding cake is ALWAYS fruitcake. When we were married 30+ years ago we decided that we didn't want a long engagement. We announced to our parents that we wanted the date to be in 6 weeks time. One of my mother's biggest worries was that such a quick date would not give time for for the wedding (fruitcake) cake to ripen! :biggrin:

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I usually prefer stollen. Does that count as fruit cake? Fruit bread that I eat every day during the holidays?

My mom uses her mom's recipe for stollen, which my grandmother referred to as fruitcake. However, my mom refuses to use the word fruitcake because so few people like "fruitcake". Stollen sounds better to her. Anyway, the stollen we had at home was a white batter with light spices, plus chunks of candied fruit. I always find it too dry, almost like a crumby biscotti bread, and the dried fruit too interferingly hard and chewy. I much prefer the fruit softened in liquor, then ground to create a more moist cake.

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Oh, Mrs. P, I like that idea. You could soak the dried fruits in liquor, grind half of them into the stollen dough to make it more moist, and then mix the rest in for chunkiness. Yum.

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Fruitcake can be traced back at least to a Roman baked mixture of dried fruits, seeds, pine nuts, and the honey wine called satura, and has its modern derivatives throughout the world: German stollen, Portuguese morgado, Italian panforte and the equally splendid pandoro, English plum pudding & simnel cake, and an Icelandic lemon-cardamom cake.

Merrie – a longtime friend of mine who was raised on Tobago – has told me that if you order a “wedding cake” in Jamaica, Barbados, or Antigua, it will arrive as a dark fruitcake made with candied lime, orange, and citron, and invariably steeped heavily in rum. This cake has been referred to as black cake in several of the preceeding entries of the discussion thread, and that nomenclature is certainly valid. An English cookbook of 1813 provided a recipe for wedding cake, most notable, perhaps, for its stern instructions: “Beat in your sugar for a quarter of an hour” and the yolks “half an hour at least.” A labor-intensive project, indeed!

Unfortunately, fruitcake has become the object of countless bad gastronomic jokes – and this ridicule is rooted in the fact that most Americans, exposed increasingly to those insipid store-bought or mail-order products, simply do not know (or have forgotten) the incomparable sensory impact of great fruitcake.

Probably nobody has ever evoked the spirit of fruitcake-making in the South like Truman Capote in “A Christmas Memory.” Ideally, the quintessential fruitcake should be made about one year in advance of serving, wrapped properly, and stored in the back of the refrigerator to mellow. During this term of storage, it must be pampered with occasional dousings of bourbon, rum, or sweet wine. If your patience easily tends to show hairline cracks, don’t worry! For, even in its infancy, the cake has the highly estimable quality to produce instant gratification – and reaffirm the consolation that nothing conjures up more year-end holiday warmth than an old-fashioned homemade fruitcake that’s been prepared with care and presented with generosity.

For the past 15 years, my ne plus ultra fruitcake has comprised the following set of ingredients:

1 lb each: golden seedless raisins; Thompson raisins; crystallized orange peel; crystallized citron; crystallized lemon peel; crystallized pineapple (although usually I double the amount of crystallized red & green cherries); dates.

2 lbs pecans; 4 cups sifted flour; 1 lb sweet butter; 2 cups white granulated sugar; 1 dozen large eggs; 1 tsp ground cinnamon; ½ tsp allspice; ½ tsp nutmeg; ¼ tsp ground ginger; 1 tsp salt; 2 tsp pure vanilla extract; 1½ tsp pure almond extract; ¾ cup Kentucky bourbon.

The above proportions yields one 5½-lb. and two 2½-lb. gorgeous fruitcakes, baked in a 10- x 4-inch heavy-gauge square tube pan & two 8-inch loaf pans). I am emphatic about not using marzipan on fruitcakes. Although I could possibly accept an almond-flavoured Italian meringue to garnish the top of the cake(s).

Some years I have also made other fruitcakes, including a two-tone version, a light cake combined with a dark cake. Two classics unified! Also: A dried-apricot-&-date fruitcake sweetened with honey & brown sugar, and spiked with brandy & Cointreau. Another dried-fruit version was baked in a fluted mold kept wrapped in brandy-soaked cheesecloth for 2 months – and then devoured in about 2 days! And a buttermilk-chocolate fruitcake containing Brazil nuts, dates…and candied cherries macerated in cherry brandy. I have in my files a recipe for a no-bake refrigerator fruitcake that will probably remain unmade.

Of course, other treats will also have to be made for gift-giving in December; such as chocolate-ginger bars, seafoam candy, fudge, orange-glazed walnuts, molasses taffy, hazelnut shortbread, white-chocolate macadamia bark (indispensable for my younger sister), spicy chocolate lebkuchen (indispensable

for my father), and rum-raisin truffles (indispensable to me). Is it really too early to get invigorated for the Christmas Season?


Edited by Redsugar (log)

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Has anyone made a "white fruitcake"?

I've seen these mentioned in some Southern cookbooks that reference older recipes. I'm intrigued, but haven't tried one yet.

They typically omit dark fruit and the common "fruitcake" spices. Bill Neal mentions some versions that use all egg whites rather than yolks--though he says he prefers the whole egg version.

Add-in ingredients might include the following:

ground almonds,

chopped citron,

grated fresh coconut,

rosewater,

crystallized pineapple.

The liquor of choice: bourbon or brandy...


Edited by ludja (log)

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I make a white fruitcake but it is too late for this year as it has to "age" or mature for at least 6 months to reach the proper flavor and texture.

White Fruit Cake

This one is a lot of work but the results are extraordinary.

Preparation a minimum of 2 weeks prior to baking.

1-1/2 pounds finely cut candied citron or use candied citrus peel

1-1/2 pounds sultana (golden) raisins

1-1/2 pounds finely cut candied pineapple

Place in large glass jar and add:

2 cups sweet white wine - Carmel Cream White or similar.

2 cups white rum

Allow to macerate in a cool place for a minimum of 2 weeks, longer will be o.k.

When ready to make the batter, weigh and measure out:

1-1/2 pounds blanched almonds, ground till resembling fine bread crumbs.

1 small coconut - meat freshly grated, medium shred. Or soak 1 cup of shredded coconut in coconut milk and drain prior to adding to recipe. Use the coconut milk for something else.

1 pound unsalted butter

1 pound sugar

6 extra large eggs

1 pound flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons nutmeg

1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 pint of liquor in which fruit has been macerated, see next directions.

The night before you are ready to bake, drain the fruit in a colander placed over a deep vessel, allow to drain overnight then spread fruit on paper towels and pat dry. Set aside in a very large bowl and toss fruit with HALF the flour.

Directions for batter:

Cream butter and sugar till fluffy

Add eggs one at a time beating till each is completely incorporated.

Mix remaining flour with ground almonds, grated coconut and nutmeg.

Beat into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.

Add almond and vanilla extracts.

Add liquor drained from fruit.

Pour mixture from mixer bowl over the fruit and flour mixture in very large bowl and mix until fruit is well distributed in batter. If too thick or dry, add additional liquor - 1/4 cup at a time. Batter should be thick enough to cling to a spoon and drop off in large globs. (technical term - glob - clump at least the size of a small egg)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Line a large round cake pan (10 inch - at least 2 inches deep) with greased brown paper (or baking parchment) Or use 2 large loaf pans, line them also.

Spoon batter into pans, pushing into corners and up against sides so batter is slightly lower in the center. (This is to make sure the top is flat.)

Set pan or pans in a larger pan, pour in hot water to within 3/4 inch to top of cake pans. Cover everything with 2 layers of aluminum foil and crimp tightly around water pan (this is to work like a steamer - If you have a very large covered roasting pan that will hold the pans you can use that.)

Place in preheated oven and steam for 3-1/2 hours.

Remove from oven - remove cake pan/pans from steamer - return to oven and bake for 1/2 hour at 325 F.

Remove from oven - punch holes in top of cake with skewer and spoon 1/3 cup almond liquor - Amaretto etc. over cake. Allow to cool completely, remove from pan, wrap tightly in foil and then with plastic wrap. Place in cool place and allow to mellow for 4 to 6 months. Repeat the application of liquor every two to three weeks.

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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 COCA 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 cup CURRANTS

1-1/2 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.

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.

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Thank you andiesenji for the generous sharing of your recipes!!! :smile:

They both sound very good and unique. I love the idea of the ground almonds, coconut and pineapple in the white cake. While the applesauce, cocoa, walnuts and orange glaze sound fantastic in the cocoa version.

Can I ask how you had the second recipe? Was it really handed down in your famliy? Do you know any history of it?

When you mention ripening these in a cool place, is the fridge ok? (I don't have a cellar right now so I don't know that I'd have any other option).

Thanks again, I'm definately bookmarking this under my favorites!

ludja


Edited by ludja (log)

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Has anyone made a "white fruitcake"?

I've seen these mentioned in some Southern cookbooks that reference older recipes.  I'm intrigued, but haven't tried one yet. 

They typically omit dark fruit and the common "fruitcake" spices.  Bill Neal mentions some versions that use all egg whites rather than yolks--though he says he prefers the whole egg version.

Add-in ingredients might include the following:

ground almonds,

chopped citron,

grated fresh coconut,

rosewater,

crystallized pineapple. 

The liquor of choice: bourbon or brandy...

Yes, I make a white fruitcake. I inherited the recipe by way of my mother and her mother. I don't know if mine is a Southern recipe, but I grew up in Virginia and that is where I learned to make it. Oddly enough, the name it was christened with is California Fruitcake.

This fruitcake has apricots, figs, white and dark raisins, citron, orange and lemon peels, and pecans. It also called for maraschino cherries, but as dried tart cherries became available, and as I am now the sole remaining baker of this fruitcake, I changed the cherries to dried cherries. I plump them in kirsch now.

After I learned to make this fruitcake at my mothers side, we found an edited recipe from my grandmother that also had pineapple in it. I now use fresh pineapple chunks in it, well drained.

The batter doesn't have any spices in it, and the liquid is the liquid from cooking the apricots and various fruit juices and nectars. It is a whole egg version.

We have never put any liquor on it, and it seems just fine that way. If I had to choose a liquour/wine to put on it, I think sherry would be the best. But I haven't really experimented with doing this, as the fruitcake is very good without it.

I haven't made it in a few years, as there seem to be very few fruitcake lovers that I know, and I have been traveling around. It takes about two days to make, as the fruit needs to sit overnight in a dusting of flour.

However, I have introduced this fruitcake to some fruitcake "haters", and they seemed pleased with it. It has a little bit of tartness to it, and is not overwhemingly sweet.

California Fruit Cake

2 cups dried sliced apricots -- boil 1 minute in

1 thin syrup:1/2 cup sugar to 1 cup water:

cool and dry

1 cup dried figs -- cut small

2 cups white raisins

1 1/3 cups dark raisins

2/3 cup dried cherries or maraschino cherries -- cut

small. Marinate

dried cherries in Kirsch .

2/3 cup orange peel -- cut small

2/3 cup lemon peel -- cut small

2/3 cup citron -- cut small

2 cups broken nut meats -- preferably pecans

24 cubes pineapple -- cut in 1/4's and

drained well

4 1/2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons corn syrup

5 eggs -- well beaten

1 1/3 cups fruit juices -- use syrup from

apricots, plus pineapple juice, plus

whatever juices you have

Dust fruit mixture with some of the flour and set aside covered until ready

to add to batter. It is even better if the fruit is left

overnight like this. Mix remaining flour and dry ingredients (minus the

sugar) and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar well.

Add the corn syrup and beat well, then mix in well beaten eggs. Add the

flour mixture alternately with the mixed fruit juices,

beating well between each addition. Then add fruits, mixing well past each

addition. Pour into prepared pans. * Bake at 325

degrees for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 275 degrees. If you have used 2

tube pans, continue baking for another 2 hours. If

you have used 1 large angel food pan, bake for 5 hours longer. When done,

cool completely in the pans. Remove cakes from

the pans when cool, but leave paper on the cakes until ready to serve. Wrap

and store.

* Use two 9"by 3" tube pans or one large angel food cake pan. Line sides

with greased brown paper: I use brown paper bags.

Fill pans 1/2 to 2/3 full .


Edited by artisan02 (log)

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White Christmas Cake

8oz butter

8oz sugar

4 large eggs

12 oz plain flour (pastry)

Pinch of salt

1 Tsp baking powder

6 oz stem ginger, drained and chopped

6 oz glace pineapple

4 oz candied peel

4 oz walnuts or almonds, chopped

rind and juice of a lemon

Cream the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder and fold in. Add fruit, nuts, lemon. Mix gently. Stir and wish. Pour into an 8 inch lined round cake tin bake in slow oven (325F/160C) 2 1/2-3 hours, covering with greaseproof paper for the last hour.

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I’ve seen consumption of the following cake convert people who had not previously liked fruitcake:

8 oz. butter; 1 cup light brown sugar; 4 liq. oz. honey; 5 large eggs; 2 cups flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp ground cinnamon; ½ tsp allspice; 1¾ lbs dried apricots; 1 lb pecan halves; ½ lb sultanas; ¾ lb pitted dates (not the sugared kind); 2 oz. dried apples; 2 oz. walnuts; 4 liq. oz. orange juice; 2 liq. oz. heavy cream; 4 liq. oz. brandy; 2 liq. oz. orange liqueur.

Stir together dry ingredients. Cream butter & sugar; then incorporate honey, add eggs individually. Blend in half of the flour mixture, alternating w/ juice & cream. Toss fruit & nuts in reserved flour and stir into batter by hand. Spoon batter into two greased standard loaf pans. Bake at 350° F. for 2½ to 3 hours, until tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool on wire grid for 15 minutes; sprinkle w/ the spirits. When completely cooled, envelope cakes in clingwrap; store in airtight containers.

When you're about to bake light fruitcakes, it's advisable to bind a double thickeness of heavy, unglazed brown paper around the outside of the cake pan; this will help prevent the edges of the cake from becoming undesirably darkened and overcooked.

Should you choose to produce a fruitcake without alcohol, consider Jim Dodge's pertinent wisdom: "Fruit cake tastes a lot better when you candy the fruit yourself. And you know it's free of artificial colors & preservatives. I like to brush the syrup left over from candying the fruit onto the finished caked to give it even more flavor & moisture." (Baking with Jim Dodge, p. 115). His recipe for light fruit cake comprises freshly candied cranberries plus lemon, orange, & grapefruit peels.

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Any links on or recipes forcandying your own fruit? I like the idea.

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Thanks for the white fruit cake recipes artisan02, jackal10 and redsugar....

dried cherries in kirsch,

stem ginger,

dates,

grapefruit peels....

intriguing and wonderful fruitcake ingredients in splendid counterpoint to electric red and green sugar plastic cherries...

It is especially wonderful to get pesonal recommendations and recipes for something like fruit cake. It's a bigger commitment to make a fruit cake--in time and in ingredients. And, I think, it is harder to predict the success of a recipe before making it. Lastly, there comes, in knowing that people often traditionally make these each year, a somewhat mysterious sense of tradition and history that agreeably travels along with each recipe.


Edited by ludja (log)

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Thank you andiesenji for the generous sharing of your recipes!!!  :smile:

They both sound very good and unique.  I love the idea of the ground almonds, coconut and pineapple in the white cake.  While the applesauce, cocoa, walnuts and orange glaze sound fantastic in the cocoa version.

Can I ask how you had the second recipe?  Was it really handed down in your famliy?  Do you know any history of it?

When you mention ripening these in a cool place, is the fridge ok?  (I don't have a cellar right now so I don't know that I'd have any other option).

Thanks again, I'm definately bookmarking this under my favorites!

ludja

---------------------------------------------------------

Many of my ancestors were enthusiastic about foods, collected "receipts" and grew odd things. This one came from one of my paternal ancestors, Patience, wife of Antony Nesbitt, Capt., which is how she named herself in her journals. Apparently she sometimes sailed with him on his ship during trading trips. My grandmother had two or three of her journals and copied recipes (and interesting stories) from them long before I was born. One of my aunts passed the recipe on to me and also sent me a photocopy of the pages in the journal where it was written. Very difficult to read - every "s" is written like an "f" and there are breaks in words that do not belong because of writing with a quill pen.

These do not need to be refrigerated. When I say cool, I mean not near a heat source. Don't put them on top of the refrigerator which produces heat. It is usually cooler near the floor so if you have a kettle or stockpot that is big enough to hold the cake, wrap them well put them into the kettle and cover it and place it in a low cupboard or on the floor in a closet. (That is as long as you don't have radiant heating in your floor.)

Now here is my suggestion for making cakes like these that include a lot of ingredients.

Do not try to do it all at once, it seems like a really big job. Instead start out with measuring out the fruit, set it to soak.

On another day measure out the dry ingredients, place in ziploc bags and place in a large bowl or one of the jumbo ziploc bags along with a copy of the recipe.

Chop the nuts and store them in a ziploc bag.

Then when you are ready to assemble the recipe all you have to do is get out the perishable ingredients and mix then bake.

I do this with the many cookie recipes I do each year. I have a bunch of bus trays and totes.

Each one is for a particular recipe. I line them up and measure out all the dry ingredients, and store in ziploc bags, along with any special utensils needed for a particular recipe, put the tray or tote in a large plastic bag and stack them in the pantry.

This way I do not get into the middle of a recipe and find I am missing an ingredient and it just generally makes things go so much faster.


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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    • By Kasia
      BANOFFE - MY DAUGHTER'S BIRTHDAY CAKE
       
      This year, mischievous nature tried to upset my daughter's birthday plans. Spending your birthday in bed with a thermometer isn't an excellent idea ¬– even for an adult. For a teenager it is a drama comparable to cancelled holidays. My daughter told me that you are thirteen only once. And she was right. Literally and figuratively.

      I wanted to sugar the pill for her on this day and cheer her up for a bit, so I prepared a caramel cake with bananas – banoffee in the form of a small birthday cake. My sweet magic and the dinner from her favourite restaurant worked, and in the end her birthday was quite nice.

      Ingredients (17cm cake tin):
      150g of biscuits
      75g of butter
      200ml of 30% sweet cream
      250g of mascarpone cheese
      2 tablespoons of caster sugar
      2 bananas
      300g of fudge
      1 teaspoon of dark cocoa

      Break the biscuits into very small pieces or blend them. Melt the butter and mix it up with the biscuits until you have dough like wet sand. Put it into a cake tin and form the base. It is worth rolling it flat with a glass. Leave it in the fridge for one hour. Spread the biscuit layer with fudge and arrange the sliced bananas on top. Whisk the chilled sweet cream with the caster sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix it in. Put the mixture onto the bananas and make it even. Sprinkle with the dark cocoa and decorate as you like. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours (best for the whole night).

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
      ON THE CHRISTMAS TABLE - CHRISTMAS EVE CRANBERRY KISSEL
       
      One of my friends from Ukraine told me about her traditional Christmas dishes. Except for stuffed cabbage with potatoes (which I have made already) I was surprised about cranberry kissel. I searched the Internet and I saw that in many Polish homes Christmas Eve supper ends with cranberry kissel. In my home we always drink compote with dried fruit, but maybe this year we will try a new dish on our Christmas menu.

      I wonder why cranberries are on the Christmas table. I didn't find any particular information about it (except the fact it is tradition). I think that a few years ago cranberries were treated as a natural cure which aids digestion, and this could be quite useful after a hefty Christmas meal!

      At my Ukrainian friends' home Christmas kissel is runny like a drink, but you can prepare it like a dessert with a more dense texture. I made the drink version, but you should choose which is better for you.

      Ingredients:
      500g of cranberries
      a piece of cinnamon and a couple of cloves
      6-8 tablespoons of sugar
      2-3 tablespoons of potato flour

      Wash the cranberries and put them with the cinnamon and cloves in a pan. Pour in 500ml of water and boil until the fruit is soft. Remove the cinnamon and cloves and blend the rest. Add the sugar and mix it until it has dissolved. Sieve the cranberry mousse to make a smooth texture. Mix the potato flour with a bit of cold water. Boil the cranberry mousse and add the mixed potato flour, stirring constantly so it is not lumpy. Boil for a while. Pour the kissel into some glasses.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
      MILLET GROATS CHOCOLATE CREME WITH CRANBERRY MOUSSE
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for the best chocolate crème I have ever eaten. It is thick, smooth and very chocolaty in flavour and colour. Despite the chocolate, the dessert isn't too sweet. But if somebody thinks that it is, I recommend serving it with slightly sour fruit mousse. You can use cherries, currants or cranberries. You will make an unusually yummy arrangement and your dessert will look beautiful.

      My children were delighted with this dessert. I told them about the fact it had been made with millet groats after they had eaten it, and ... they didn't believe me. Next time I will prepare the millet groats crème with a double portion of ingredients.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      chocolate crème
      100g of millet groats
      200g of dark chocolate
      1 tablespoon of dark cocoa
      250ml of almond milk
      fruit mousse
      250g of fresh cranberries
      juice and peel of one orange
      half a teaspoon of grated ginger
      4 tablespoons of brown sugar

      Boil the millet groats in salty water and drain them. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Blend the millet groats, chocolate, cocoa and milk very thoroughly until you have very smooth crème. Pour the milk in gradually to make the right consistency of your desert. Prepare the fruit mousse. Put the washed cranberries, ginger, juice orange peel and sugar into a pot. Boil until the fruits are soft. Blend. Put the chocolate crème into some small bowls. Put the fruit mousse on top. Decorate with peppermint leaves. Serve at once or chilled.

      Enjoy your meal!


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