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Suvir Saran

The Fruitcake Topic

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Fruitcakes definitely improve with age. I would guess, though, that there's a point of diminishing returns . . .

Fruitcake was developed as an early method to preserve food -- sugar and alcohol both being good preservatives. Fruitcakes travelled with the Crusaders.

So, we're talking about years.

Where's our resident food historian, Janet?

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lperry   

I owe a big "thank you" to the egullet fruit cake makers. I make one for my Dad every year, but I never macerated the fruit for longer than a night or two. This year I remembered to throw the rum and dried fruit together several weeks ago (rum is his favorite). I just tasted the fruit and I'm having to exercise great self control to save it for the cake.

So, thank you! My cake will be much better this year because of everyone's advice in this thread. :smile:

-L

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Dora S   

I've been making fruitcake for the past two years and I used to macerate fruits in the fridge for a fortnight (with an occasional stir). The result was good but I wanted to try something different this year. This time around I've left the mixture in a heavy jar sealed with plastic wrap on the countertop.

When macerating fruits, should the mixture be left untouched for the whole duration or can I mix it up occasionally to let the fruits nearer the surface absorb more alcohol/honey? It's been two weeks since I started a batch and it smells heavenly already! :wub: I'm so tempted to stick a spoon in to have a taste! :biggrin:

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I've been making fruitcake for the past two years and I used to macerate fruits in the fridge for a fortnight (with an occasional stir).  The result was good but I wanted to try something different this year.  This time around I've left the mixture in a heavy jar sealed with plastic wrap on the countertop. 

When macerating fruits, should the mixture be left untouched for the whole duration or can I mix it up occasionally to let the fruits nearer the surface absorb more alcohol/honey? It's been two weeks since I started a batch and it smells heavenly already!  :wub:  I'm so tempted to stick a spoon in to have a taste!  :biggrin:

Definitely mix it up. If you have a large jar with a good lid, just turn it upside down every couple of days.

I never refrigerate my mixture, it just stays in the back of a cupboard. One year I made a batch early, forgot about it, made a second batch, and then used the first batch the following year.

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I finally made my Chocolate Alcohol Cake after months of marinating.

I like the cake, but I'm wishing it was chocolaty-er.

It was still warm when I first ate it and I LOVED the melted chocolate part.

So, twere I to make it again, or advise anyone else, take the AT LEAST part of the chocolate measurement seriously!

Also, I think I might try flouring the fruits or something before mixing -- there are bigger clumps of fruit in my cake than I like. The result is that I like tearing it in clumps and eating those rather than slicing it!

I'm trying a bit each day to see how it ages. Tonight I'm going to try warming and buttering it . . .

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teagal   
I've been making fruitcake for the past two years and I used to macerate fruits in the fridge for a fortnight (with an occasional stir).  The result was good but I wanted to try something different this year.  This time around I've left the mixture in a heavy jar sealed with plastic wrap on the countertop. 

When macerating fruits, should the mixture be left untouched for the whole duration or can I mix it up occasionally to let the fruits nearer the surface absorb more alcohol/honey? It's been two weeks since I started a batch and it smells heavenly already!  :wub:  I'm so tempted to stick a spoon in to have a taste!  :biggrin:

Definitely mix it up. If you have a large jar with a good lid, just turn it upside down every couple of days.

I never refrigerate my mixture, it just stays in the back of a cupboard. One year I made a batch early, forgot about it, made a second batch, and then used the first batch the following year.

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teagal   

Sorry-not very good at posting yet!

Question - does the fruit have to be dried? I have some fresh peaches I sliced, added rum to in the summer and stuck them in the freezer. Could I add this when the other fruit I have soaked is ready to be added to the recipe?

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You will not be able to store the cake at room temp. It will have to be refrigerated and consumed within a few days or you will need to freeze it.

The fresh peaches, even baked in a cake, will be subject to spoilage, even with the alcohol.

If you cook them first, so they are essentially peach preserves, you can add them to a cake, allowing for the fact that they will count as part of the liquid.

Quite a few years ago I tried a recipe that included chunks of fresh apples added to the batter, along with raisins and nuts - I can't recall the rest of the mix, it was a heavy spiced cake. I baked them in small loaf pans and all but one were consumed during the weekend. One remained under a cake dome and perhaps a week later I cut into it and found the chunks of apple, which had been intact when the cake was fresh, had broken down into slimy goop, leaving holes in the cake. I tossed it.

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oli   
I finally made my Chocolate Alcohol Cake after months of marinating.

I like the cake, but I'm wishing it was chocolaty-er. 

It was still warm when I first ate it and I LOVED the melted chocolate part.

So, twere I to make it again, or advise anyone else, take the AT LEAST part of the chocolate measurement seriously!

Also, I think I might try flouring the fruits or something before mixing -- there are bigger clumps of fruit in my cake than I like.  The result is that I like tearing it in clumps and eating those rather than slicing it!

I'm trying a bit each day to see how it ages.  Tonight I'm going to try warming and buttering it . . .

I am still marinating my fruit. I am wondering if I should chop some of my fruit, because there are large whole pieces.

When you talk about the chocolate are you saying to use more than the recipe?


Edited by oli (log)

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You'll get the same size pieces in your cake, and they have a bit of a tendency to clump together. I found the fig pieces were magnets for other pieces of fruit. So, it depends on what you would like in your finished product.

The recipe calls for 100 grams of chocolate. My personal taste would be to add more. The chocolate flavor of the cake, as written, is quite subtle. I have yet to try adding a chocolate sauce, but intend to.

I'm ageing it and found that I liked the two week old piece better than younger pieces.

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oli   
You'll get the same size pieces in your cake, and they have a bit of a tendency to clump together.  I found the fig pieces were magnets for other pieces of fruit.  So, it depends on what you would like in your finished product.

The recipe calls for 100 grams of chocolate.  My personal taste would be to add more.  The chocolate flavor of the cake, as written, is quite subtle.  I have yet to try adding a chocolate sauce, but intend to.

I'm ageing it and found that I liked the two week old piece better than younger pieces.

I don't understand, if I chop my pieces up, how will I still get the same size pieces in the cake? Are not traditional fruit cake with pieces of fruit that are the same size pieces as I will get with chopping?

I am going with adding more chocolate, maybe even some Godiva liquor, and we'll see how it all works out come Xmas.

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Sorry -- what I mean is, whatever size you chop them to, that's the size they'll be in the cake. Except that I found a bit of clumping, so my fruit pieces were fruit conglomerates. Only where figs were concerned, though.

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GTO   

In the same vein as fruit cake, I was looking through the ingredients on a Sainsbury's Christmas pudding and I was surprised to see "mustard" listed as one of the spices used. I've never seen that added before, have you?

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For those who want a more chocolate-y flavour - as well as adding more chopped chocolate, I'm sure it would work just fine to substitute some of the flour with extra cocoa - say 1/4 cup.

Might try that myself next time around! You can never have a cake that is too chocolate-y.

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Good idea Janet, I will try that next time!

I have a recipe for a ginger cake I like very much that is very spicy -- it calls for powdered mustard, which lends a complex and interesting hot taste.

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Good idea Janet, I will try that next time!

I have a recipe for a ginger cake I like very much that is very spicy -- it calls for powdered mustard, which lends a complex and interesting hot taste.

I'd love that recipe, if you will part with it!

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Sure! I'll email it to your home address in the next day or two, when I get to the home computer.

Let me know how you like it.

For instant gratification, this is a recipe I like particularly -- Gingerbread Tiles --

http://www.estarcion.com/gastronome/archives/001633.html

I made slabs of this, rolled over it with a springerle pin and then added a glaze to make a snowy effect. Adored by friends. I want to try them again cutting them into gingerbread men.

There's a new ad campaign for Canada Dry ginger ale in which a gingerbread man is drinking a glass of ginger ale . . . every time I drive by this giant billboard near my house, I get absolutely mad for gingerbread . . .

I don't think that's what Canada Dry had in mind.

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I loathe fruitcake. Actually, I just don't like dried fruit, which is not doubt the problem. However, my husband loves fruitcake and his mom (who is nearly 80) stopped making it a few years ago. He's been pulling a hound dog face at me for the last few Christmas seasons to get me to make one. I completed my first fruitcake last week from a newish version of The The Joy of Cooking. It didn't call for soaking the fruit first, and it uses brandy in the batter rather than bourban, rum, or cognac as previous posters have mentioned.

Have I just made a complete hash of my first fruitcake by following that recipe? :wacko:

-Rinsewind

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Kris   

I was late this year, but this past weekend I made 9 black cakes plus 6 mini bundt black cakes!

I dosed them liberally with rum and port wine - hopefully they'll mellow out by the time Christmas rolls around. :)

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viva   

Of the 25+ desserts that I served on Thanksgiving, the only one that was saved from the post-Thanksgiving purge was MeeMaw's Pork Mincemeat Cake. High praise!

I did serve it this year brushed with a thin sugar & rum glaze.

Also I made Mincemeat Cookies with the leftover mincemeat from the cake, mixed with eggs, more bourbon & rum, and dark Karo, baked in little tart forms on a cream-cheese pie dough. Very popular as well - the pork content was not disclosed. :wink:


Edited by viva (log)

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Viva,

I am so pleased, and I know MeeMaw would be also, with all the mileage you are getting out of her cherished receipt. I prepared a double batch early last month and canned it in pint jars (instead of the usual quarts) because I finally figured that a pint of the stuff is quite enough for smaller cakes, steamed puddings, bread dressing as a side dish, etc. I used it to stuff a rolled pork loin roast that I served with Cumberland sauce and everyone raved about it.

How about posting the recipe for your cream cheese pastry dough.

My neighbor, Leila Obregon, asked for a jar and she is going to use it in empanadas. Her dad asked if I had ever tried using it in a mix for sausages - which gave me an idea to try - I just have to order some of the narrow casing to stuff finger-sized ones. I have some duck meat and some venison in the freezer that should make up into very tasty sausages.

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Rinsewind, there are several approaches to fruitcake and the Joy of Cooking approach doesn't sound bad at all. Have you tried it yet? Happy with the result?

One of the tricks is getting a good base cake recipe and then playing with it. Only use the fruits you like.

Martha Stewart's web site has a very intriguing recipe called Dowager Dutchess Cake I've always wanted to try -- I imagine it would have high appeal to the "I loathe fruitcake" crowd.

It's nice to see everyone swapping ideas -- love this time of year because I love the stuff baked now . . .

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lperry   

I baked my fruitcake yesterday using Alton Brown's "Free Range Fruitcake" recipe from Food TV. I really like this one because there is just enough batter to hold together the fruit. I calculated the volume of fruit and use what I like (as suggested above). Plus, my fruit macerated for about six weeks this year. It got rum bath #1 last night, and I'll continue to feed it for a week or two. Hopefully it will be mellow enough by Christmas.

-L

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EMERGENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOW DO I WRAP THIS THING!!!!!!!!!!

I have some black cakes and some round tins...should I wrap the cakes in muslin and then....something? and then place them in the tin?? I'm just not sure how the inside of the tin arangement should work out.

Also, do these things get frosted or anything? Should I make a hard sauce to give with it?

Help please...today is one of my last days to get these things finished!

I then thought I'd tie the tins with bows...

I also have some rectangular ones that don't fit into tins any suggestions for those would be great too..

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