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Suvir Saran

The Fruitcake Topic

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Last season I had just gotten out of the hospital at the time I normally make new fruitcakes.  So I ordered some ingredients to be delivered but didn't realize until after I had mixed everything that I had used a "light" fruitcake recipe.  I was pretty disappointed because we grew up having dark fruitcakes like my Grandmother and Great Aunt made.  About a month ago I took one out and to my delight, it was delicious.  I still prefer the dark style but I don't mind at all eating a light fruitcake now.

 

By the way, I usually use both brown sugar and molasses in a dark fruitcake.  Anyone else put something different when making a dark fruitcake?

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A couple of years ago, I took the plunge and decided to make Eudora Welty's White Fruitcake (recipe here) to go in Christmas gift baskets. 

 

They were horrible. Doughy in the center, after having been cooked for the length of time specified. Gave them another 20 minutes. Still horrible. As I had several dollars' worth of fruit and nuts tied up in them, not to mention flour, butter, etc., and several hours of work, I was loath to pitch them.

 

I wrapped and froze them, took a frozen loaf out, cut it into quarter-inch thick slices, and baked them a second time. Lo and behold, fruitcake biscotti, which were quite good. Not good enough I'll make the fruitcake again just to make the biscotti, but it sure saved the ingredients. Bags of them went into the gift baskets, and people loved them.

 

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That's a fantastic idea and made me think of something.  One criticism I have of my white fruitcakes from last year is that they are very crumbly.  I suppose because I didn't add enough liquid or egg, although they were doused throughout the year with brandy and bourdon.  But I'm thinking why not crumble it up, bake it a bit and serve it with ice cream?  A sort of ice cream fruitcake sundae as it were.

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Eating all this purchased fruit cake is sure helping me figure out what I like and don't like (and what my bowels like and don't like). One of them had fresh bay leaves pressed on to the outside of the gauze and I really liked what it did to the flavor. I think it could be equally interesting to try keffir lime or other citrus leaves. For that matter I could play my foraging card and use various foraged leaves although to a different effect. The other thing I've learned is that I don't like figs in my fruit cake. Just too seedy.

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I agree about citrus leaves for a flavor accent.  And while I love dates in my sticky toffee pudding, not so much in my fruitcake!

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2 minutes ago, David Ross said:

I agree about citrus leaves for a flavor accent.  And while I love dates in my sticky toffee pudding, not so much in my fruitcake!

 

 

David, where are you buying the leaves?

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6 minutes ago, oli said:

 

 

David, where are you buying the leaves?

I can get kaffir lime leaves and mandarin orange leaves at a local Asian market. 

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3 minutes ago, David Ross said:

I can get kaffir lime leaves and mandarin orange leaves at a local Asian market. 

Do you mind giving me the name of the Asian market? I don't think there are a lot of Asian markets in town, but if you think it is a common product I will just drop in at the closest Asian market when I make a TJs run.

Thanks

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In Spokane I can get them at Bay Market and then at Asian World market.  It's tricky at these places as sometimes they are fresh other times frozen.  There is a Middle Eastern market that sometimes has them. 

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3 minutes ago, David Ross said:

In Spokane I can get them at Bay Market and then at Asian World market.  It's tricky at these places as sometimes they are fresh other times frozen.  There is a Middle Eastern market that sometimes has them. 

Do you think frozen would be just as good, if they don't have fresh at this time of year?

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Yes the frozen always seems to work ok for me.  It doesn't have the flavor punch of fresh but works ok.  They also sell small plastic cartons of frozen grated lemongrass which work well and take the job of cutting fresh lemongrass out.  Those work well in Thai soups but you could also put some in a fruitcake.

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9 hours ago, gfron1 said:

The other thing I've learned is that I don't like figs in my fruit cake. Just too seedy.

 

The last time I made fruitcake (in the mid 1970's) I followed a Craig Claiborne recipe that called for lots of dried figs.  Never again.  The fig seeds ruin it for me.  Sad thing is unlike most sane people I really do like fruitcake.

 

Can you tell us more about the ones you purchased?

 

 

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9 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Can you tell us more about the ones you purchased?

I bought three this year. The Bien Fait Bourbon fruitcake, and Robert Lambert's 2 year dark and 1 year white. The Bien Fait is darker, moister and had the figs and lots of prunes. I liked it, and at $18 was really good. Robert Lambert's were both better than the average fruit cake, and the texture was much more like a poundcake that had been soaked for a year (or two). Not wet, but not dry. The crumb was dense but not crumbly, and packed with fruit. I actually preferred the 1 year to the 2 year, and these are the ones that had fresh bay leaf which was a great addition. He also has a much more extensive set of fruit inside including buddah's hand. At Robert Lambert prices I won't be buying another, but it was one of the better I've had.  A few months back I visited and bought a College of the Ozarks fruitcake which was a very traditional version like we would all know. Better than the grocery store versions only because they're made fresh and not aged.

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2 hours ago, gfron1 said:

At Robert Lambert prices I won't be buying another, but it was one of the better I've had.

 

$75, I hope that was for a case.

 

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11 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

$75, I hope that was for a case.

 

A case of fruitcake craving...but only one loaf. Crazy expensive.

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8 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

A case of fruitcake craving...but only one loaf. Crazy expensive.

 

Can we make it for less and taste damn close?

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19 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

A case of fruitcake craving...but only one loaf. Crazy expensive.

 I like fruitcake but for that  amount of money it would need to keep me fully nourished for two weeks.😂

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2 hours ago, oli said:

 

Can we make it for less and taste damn close?

that's what I'm aiming to do.

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I will be waiting with baited breath.

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This thread was started back in 2002, before I was a member.  I joined eG in April 2004 and my first post in this thread was in October 2004 on page 2 and I posted a link that is still working to a Black Cake recipe that I had made several times.

It is on RecipeSource, which was  originally  SOAR (The Searchable Online Archive of Recipes) which I first got into via CompuServe (which charged by the minute) and also BMUG (Berkeley Macintosh Users Group) in the latter half of the 1980s, before the "World Wide Web" came into being.

In 1988 I prepared 2 of these black cakes for a delegation of physicians and surgeons from Jamaica and Grand Cayman hosted by my employer, an orthopedic surgeon in West Hills, CA. The Marriott where they were staying was unable to provide the cakes so my boss gave me 3 $100. bills and asked me to do my best. 

I made the "traditional" fluffy white icing and had a friend send me some silver dragees from Las Vegas as they were "illegal" in California.

The attendees were surprised that the cakes were even attempted and were very congratulatory.  I wasn't there but my boss told me that he too was surprised that they all really liked the cakes, some had seconds.  Several of the doctors even came to the office the day before they left, after they learned that I was not an employee of the hotel but of their host.  They were surprised that I was white, had never been to Jamaica and this was my first time preparing Black Cake.

 

 


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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@andiesenji, I'm pretty sure I downloaded that recipe back then...and never got around to trying it. Typical of me. I've downloaded it again, and I'm delighted that RecipeSource is still around. I have a question about the wine, however. What is special about Passover wine that I should look for it for this recipe? If I were to use a non-Kosher wine, what should I look for?

 

Thanks for a great story about making the cake and the way it was received.

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32 minutes ago, Smithy said:

@andiesenji, I'm pretty sure I downloaded that recipe back then...and never got around to trying it. Typical of me. I've downloaded it again, and I'm delighted that RecipeSource is still around. I have a question about the wine, however. What is special about Passover wine that I should look for it for this recipe? If I were to use a non-Kosher wine, what should I look for?

 

Thanks for a great story about making the cake and the way it was received.

It's a fortified wine like the Manischewitz concord grape, 11% about the same alcohol as  other fortified wines but cheaper. You can use any with a similar alcohol percentage, sherry or port.  I used some marsala once because I had an extra bottle and didn't feel like going out to buy more wine.  The flavor was not at all evident in the cake.

 

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Yes I agree. I did mine with Madeira and some glugs of Maraska cherry wine.  I saved the liquid and used as part of the after drench


Edited by heidih (log)
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On 11/13/2018 at 5:10 PM, oli said:

Do you think frozen would be just as good, if they don't have fresh at this time of year?

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but up here it's common at this time of the year to see mandarins/clementines at regular supermarkets with a bit of stem and a leaf or two still attached. You probably wouldn't need to buy many oranges to get enough leaves for a fruitcake or two.

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6 hours ago, chromedome said:

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but up here it's common at this time of the year to see mandarins/clementines at regular supermarkets with a bit of stem and a leaf or two still attached. You probably wouldn't need to buy many oranges to get enough leaves for a fruitcake or two.

 

Yes citrus is a winter fruit - odd as it seems. Mine are green now Of oourse we are in drought and odd warm weather so who knows...  Expect youur usual expectations to be shatttered.


Edited by heidih (log)

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