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Holiday Fruitcake

Holiday Fruitcake

Since I became enamoured with old-fashioned cooking (especially with cast iron), I've been trying many different classic cooking techniques. One of my most successful efforts was creating a Christmas Plum Pudding in the classic British tradition, with suet and classic pudding ingredients. However, not everyone has the time or the facilities to spend four hours steaming a holiday pudding. A modern-day fruitcake, made from traditional ingredients and baked in the oven, has a shorter preparation time than a steamed pudding. Not only is it delicious – it far outstrips those hideous blocks of "fruitcake" sold in stores. It's well worth the effort to make one…and if your family and friends are the kind who might run away just because "it's fruitcake" – then tell a little white lie and say it's a SPICE CAKE.

(It's worth noting that December 27th is National Fruitcake Day!)

Pans needed: Large bowl to mix batter. 2-quart 10-to-12 inch bundt cake pan.

Preparing a fruitcake is one of the easiest recipes in the world! Once you've gathered your ingredients together, here's all you need to do:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease bundt pan with shortening.

Cream together eggs, butter, sugar. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Mix it all together.

Add rum, milk, and honey. Mix it all together.

Add spices: cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, plus ground ginger if you're using it here. Mix all together….

Add filling: raisins, candied citrus, candied ginger (if you're using it here), dried fruit. Chop up apple and added it in. Zest one lemon and one orange. Add nuts. And mix it all together. :)

Grease and flour the inside of a large bundt cake pan. (YouTube video: How to grease and flour a cake pan.) Pour cake batter into bundt pan.

(Note: This cake rises fantastic! You only need to fill the cake pan to 3/4 full at the most.)

Bake at 300 degrees F for 60 minutes, then test with a toothpick before removing the cake from the oven. If the toothpick is not dry, wait 10 minutes and test again. A deep pan, such as a bundt pan, will take longer to thoroughly bake, and may require as long as 90 minutes; while a more shallow pan, such as a standard layer cake pan, will finish faster and may be completely ready after 60 minutes.

Set the pan onto a trivet, and let the cake rest for 10 to 20 minutes before flipping the pan over to remove the cake.

fruitcakeinpan.jpg

Serve slices of cake topped with butter, cream cheese, or a buttercream sauce.

Buttercream Hard Sauce

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy or rum (or to taste, if you want more alcohol)
(If you want a non-alcoholic hard sauce – such as for serving this fruitcake to kids – use apple cider instead of alcohol. You may also want to add a dash of nutmeg.)

Mix everything together in a serving container. Ladle the sauce on top of the finished cake.

See also: Candied Fruit Peel