Does anyone like fruitcake?
- StriperGuy Oct 29, 2002 07:46 AM
The holidays are upon us, better drag that fruitcake that aunt Gladys gave us (two years ago) out of the basement, rewrap it, and send it to some cousin who you don't really like anyway.
Does anyone out there (other then my father) actually like fruitcake?
Also could not resist adding a link to my favorite fruitcake recipe ;-).
I have heard that there is actually such thing as a good fruitcake, unlike the nasty commercial green candied fruit laden monstrosities I have had in the past. Has anyone eaten one?
Glad you asked. I ran across a bunch of delicious fruit cake recipes in a magazine (probably Gourmet) about 10 years ago. Made several small and beautiful (and expensive to make) chocolate fruit cakes. Basically a very dense, fudgy cake with dates, raisons, dried figs and nuts and soaked in liquour.
Gave one to my boss at the time who made a very obnoxious comment about fruit cakes. I'm STILL pissed.
I have... but it has to be made right.
The fruit mostrosities you speak of are not what I know as fruitcake. My mother used to make what I figure to be the British Christmas cake, similar to a carrot cake in texture with a thick, fondant-like icing on top.
I have even made the Carribean equivalent, called black cake, and it was very tasty. Also similar to carrot cake but uses Sweet Potatoes instead.
Funny you should ask. I LOVE fruitcake, but only good fruitcake. There should be a law against the stuff you're talking about.
I do huge amounts of baking/preserving around the holidays -- cookies, nut brittles, fruit loaves, jarred sauces and jellies, homemade liqueurs -- all for gifting friends and family. A few years ago, I made some fruitcakes from a recipe in Saveur, very labor-intensive & time-consuming (I even candied my own orange and lemon peel). Sometime in January I was chatting with a friend whose family had been the lucky (I thought) recipients of one of the cakes and some jam and cookies. She gushed about how delicious the cookies were & how they loved the jam on their pancakes, but that THEY'D THROWN AWAY THE FRUITCAKE because they "weren't really fruitcake people". I near 'bout blew a valve over that one. Needless to say, they are no longer on my recipient list.
A note to those of you who "aren't really fruitcake people": if you don't like fruitcake, that's just fine, but if someone GIVES you a fruitcake, give it right back. It might be one of those awful fruitcakoid substances, but it might also be something they spent untold hours and lots of heart on. And if you don't want it, there's someone else out there who does. Really. I, for one, wouldn't be the least bit insulted.
re: GG Mora
Reposted from 2000:
I used to make fruitcake every year and mail it to all the relatives (mostly my ex-husband's). It was a huge project, like, it took an entire weekend. Everyone was grateful, but these people were the sort who sent you a card back, not food, so when I got divorced I gladly stopped the process. It probably would have been less trouble to make a reasonable sized batch.
I've dug out the old cookbook I got it from. The original recipe is called "Old Alabama Fruitcake". From the start I banished all ingredients that looked like plastic (candied fruit) and substituted for them assorted dried fruit of the sort you can get at the natural food store. It is necessary to cut the pieces up small, which I did with a sturdy pair of kitchen shears--wear a work glove on that hand to prevent blisters. Other changes I've made to the original recipe are to substitute molasses and/or honey for the white sugar called for, and to cut back on the butter, which would run off in the oven and make an awful smoky mess.
At the fruitcake recipe in the cookbook I found a sheet of paper with "1980" on one side and "1981" on the other, so I'm working from my original notes here.
For dried fruit, here's what I listed.
[6 ounces dates
1/4 pound each white and black figs
1/4 pound dried apricots
6 ounces pound dried apples
1/2 pound dried currants
3/4 pound muscat raisins
1/2 pound raisins
3/4 pound golden raisins]
I'm sure I would have also used dried pears and pineapple also. Just buy an assortment of non-candied dried fruit of your choosing.
1 pound fresh cranberries
6-1/4 pounds of assorted dried fruit
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 cups honey
1 cup molasses
1 dozen eggs
1 cup brandy, rum, or bourbon
1 cup rosewater--I bought at a drugstore back then
4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
grated rind of 2 oranges
1 pound pecans
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
First, cut up fruit into 1/2 inch pieces with wet kitchen shears. Mix together with cranberries and nuts.
Cream butter until light Beat in honey and molasses, eggs, then rosewater, vanilla, and orange rind.
Mix nutmeg and salt with flour, then sprinkle over dried fruit and mix in thoroughly with your hands. Add floured fruits to batter and mix thoroughly. Grease 4 9x5x3 inch loaf pans, line with baking parchment, and grease paper. Spread batter in pans. Bake at 225 degrees for about 3 hours. Cake will be crumbly. Cool cake in pans overnight to set. Let cake get very cold. Wrap cakes in white towel paper (cheesecloth is traditional), place in plastic bags, and add an ounce of liquor to each bag. Replenish if it is all absorbed and the bag becomes dry. The recipe recommends aging for at least 1 week, or 3 months if possible.
This cake is very fragrant and flavorful, not like any you have purchased. I definitely recommend locating the rosewater. Probably you can get it at a Middle Eastern store.
Yes, I actually adore good fruitcake--probably because I had it, thinly sliced and delicious, on a green lawn in England for tea in the flower of my youth. It saddens me, all those mean fruitcake jokes. June Taylor, a wonderful Englishwoman who makes fabulous organic jams and preserved fruits in Oakland, CA , makes a marvellous fruitcake, sans those horrible glaceed cherries and pineapple hunks. You can probably order it on her website.
I normally hate fruitcake. But my late aunt made a wonderful light fruitcake that I loved dearly. Unfortunately, the recipe was lost with her, as it were.
A few years ago, I finally adapted and cobbled together a couple of different recipes to produce a light fruitcake like the one I now only vaguely remember. People normally love this cake: it gets eaten within a day at work, often very fast.
So, for the fruitcake-wary among you, here is my personal recipe:
Light Fruitcake (no brandy, nuts, citron or icky candied fruit!)
3 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup cornstarch (or 3.5 cups cake/pastry flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional spices: allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace (perhaps a teaspoon each; freshly ground, grated or crushed if possible), and perhaps a couple of cloves, crushed
Roughly one pound of chopped/diced dried fruit of your choice, such as Calimyrna figs, pears, blueberries, cranberries, tart cherries, golden raisins, currants, dates, apricots, pineapple, apple, mangoes, and papayas. (Tip: Chop any large pieces of dried fruit with scissors or a knife coated with cooking spray.)
A tablespoon or so of fresh tangerine/orange or lemon zest. (I prefer tangerine/orange zest for this purpose, but lemon will do.)
Cider, fruit juice or nectar to cover the dried fruit and zest (bring to a boil and turn heat off; let the fruit absorb the liquid for at least 20 minutes and then drain)
2 cups granulated sugar (you may substitute some dark sugar if you want the cake to look darker, but you need to use a bit more dark sugar in replacing as it is less sweet)
1/2 cup sweet (unsalted) butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon genuine vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda (not baking powder)
1 tablespoon powdered/confectioners sugar (optional)
Equipment: 12-cup Bundt pan; mixer (a stand-up mixer with a dough hook is greatly helpful,); whisk & large spatula; 4 bowls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside.
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt (and spices, if you add them) in a bowl to remove lumps; set aside.
Combine dried fruits with 1/4 cup flour mixture in another bowl, tossing to coat.
Combine sugar and next 3 ingredients (sugar through vanilla) in a large bowl or in a standup mixer, and beat at medium speed of mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes if using a hand mixer, less if using a higher powered standup mixer).
Add eggs and egg whites to the foregoing mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition; this builds necessary air into the cake, which is otherwise not leavened except by the baking soda.
In another bowl, combine sour cream and baking soda; stir well.
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in the mixing bowl, alternating with adding sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition.
Gently fold in dried fruit mixture (if you are using a mixer, switch to the dough hook by this point otherwise, youll need to use a large spatula).
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.
Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Servings: 24 slices
I just love fruitcake - aka Christmas Cake but I'm very picky about it, I'll only like the English ones. Mark & Sparks (for all you Brits out there) do a really good one - the one with the marzipan and icing. When my relatives visit around the holiday time they always bring me one. I savour every piece.
Fruitcake, aka Christmas cake, aka wedding cake here in the UK is brilliant - if not too rich at times. As someone who grew up in the US I can honestly say that it is one of those things that just didn't translate well when it crossed the Atlantic. REAL Christmas cake is moist and firm, filled with currants and raisins (no dyed green cherries)and topped by a thin layer of marizpan and thick white icing (which is different in consistency from American icing). In my opinion, it is the icing and marzipan that makes it all worth while. This is also the standard wedding cake in the UK (though many, including myself have started opting for other types of cake when we get married). This type of cake is wonderful, especially when served with a cup of Earl Grey but having said that, by 2 January I generally can't stand the sight of it anymore. We get several months of respite before we are fed it again during the wedding season - and then, in the true British tradition we are (thankfully) only served a finger full of it.
Hallie - you're right about fruitcake not translating well across the pond. There's such a huge difference in taste and looks between U.S. and U.K. fruitcakes and yes, I agree, marzipan and royal icing/fondant make it all the better. Delia has a wonderful recipe on her site. When you get to the site under 'find a recipe' type "The Classic Christmas Cake", she even gives step-by-step instructions on how to make it.
I checked out Delia's recipe, & would love to try it. There are a few puzzling details, as I generally cook with simple ingredients, & am not familiar with this cake. Where does one obtain sultanas (in the US) - online if you think I can't get them in the supermarket? What are glacé cherries? Can I substitute molasses for the black treacle? Also, I would like to use the marzipan/frosting layers pictured with the recipe, but there is no mention of how to do that, presumably because "everyone" already knows how. I would hate to settle for simple blanched almonds.
Any help from those who have made this - or other bakers who are not as "green" as I - would be hugely appreciated.
Nigella Lawson's suggestions on the icing/marzipan -- she uses ready to roll fondant icing and ready made marzipan.
Heat about 1/2 jar marmalade in a saucepan and when it's runny strain into a bowl to remove the rind (I suppose this could also be done with apricot jam). With a pastry brush, paint all over the cake (makes it sticky). Dust a work surface with powdered sugar, roll out the marzipan, and drape it over the cake. Cut off the excess. Roll out the fondant (on powdered sugar again) and drape that over the marzipan on the cake.
I have to say, I am a fruitcake fan, and a fan of the derivations and variations. I made Laurie Colwin's black cake last Christmas (it was very good, but not quite as sublime as she portrays it), and I make mince pies every Christmas without fail. Love mince pies. My favorite variation is probably Sienese panforte, which is more of a candy than a cake, but absolutely marvelous nonetheless.
All this has inspired me to make traditional British Christmas cake this year. Can anyone point me to the definitive recipe? Or just a fabulous one? I was thinking of looking up my Nigella Lawson ...
Christmas is usually pretty busy for me (I'm still in school, and I always have exams), so I usually just buy good mincemeat (I try to find a somewhat homemade looking jar -- British import stores are good) and make a shortcrust pastry. It's important to make them small and sugar the top crust.
If I were going to make it from scratch, Nigella Lawson's cookbook How to Be a Domestic Goddess has three different recipes for mince pies, and 2 for mincemeat, including one with quinces, which looks pretty good.
I remember some discussion on this recently and tried and tried to find but I couldn't. It gave the link to Epicurious. Well, I misplaced the recipe I printed out, went back to Epicurious, and there are TWO nearly identical recipes.
One is for "Guinness Stout Ginger Cake," from Oct. 2001 and one is for "Gramercy Tavern GIngerbread," from Feb. 2002. Both from Claudia Fleming. Main difference I see is that one recipe takes half as much sugar, and they are baked in different pans. The Ginger Cake also takes fresh ginger.
Any thoughts or comments?
re: K. McB.
the guiness cake is great. i messed around with it a bit. i use brooklyn black chocolate stout instead of guiness for a somewhat deeper flavor. i've also played w/the spices some, adding at various times white pepper, dried orange peel and chocolate chunks. i also messed up once, used only about half of the oil amount, with no discernable loss in quality.
oh, for a hot slice of that with some vanilla ice cream right about now...
PS-- make sure you're using a BIG pot when you add the baking soda to the beer mixture. it foams up like a grade school science experiment
re: K. McB.
The Guinness Stout Ginger Cake is reprinted verbatim from Claudia Fleming's book, "The Last Course: Desserts from Gramercy Tavern." The "Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread" was likely published in either Bon Appetit or Gourmet and edited to its current state. I'm always inclined to go with her original, having had so many of her wonderful creations at GT, and haven't seen a reason to try the othter version. I guess the latter would be...less gingery and sweeter [g]. I haven't a clue why that one calls for a 12-cup bundt pan and hers from the cookbook calls for a 6-cup pan - one cup of sugar shouldn't make such a difference in volume.
re: Caitlin Wheeler
Mince pies are seriously underrated. I think people in this country generally have never even tried them, and when they hear "mincemeat," they think of some fusty, heavy, unappetizing thing. Same with steamed puddings for Christmas. Mince pie is a standard at my mother's Thanksgiving table, and she makes a steamed fig pudding (flamed and served with hard sauce) every year for Christmas dinner. She also used to make fruitcakes every year in November - a dark one, with dried fruit, never candied - wrap them in rum-soaked cheesecloth, and store away until Christmas.
A few years ago, I made a light fruitcake with brandy-soaked dried fruit, nuts and chunks of marzipan that was a hit. It's probably time to make it again. The recipe's linked below.
I happen to have it written down!
Stir 1 c. sugar into 1/2 c. melted butter. Sift together 1 c. flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Add flour mixture to butter and sugar. Add 1 c. persimmon pulp (puree from 3 med. persimmons) and 2 tsp. of baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp. water. Add 3 eggs, slightly beaten, and mix well. Add 3 T. brandy and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir in 1 c. raisins and 1/2 c. chopped walnuts.
Grease a pudding mold, including the top. Fill the mold, leaving 1 1/2 " at the top. Close. Steam 2 1/2 hours with boiling water 2/3 of the way up the mold. Add boiling water to replenish and maintain the water level.
Serve with hard sauce.
re: Caitlin Wheeler
Oh, Caitlin, thank you for making my day! I used to make numerous steamed persimmon puddings every year for family and friends at the holidays, wrapped in cheesecloth with plenty of brandy or rum. My original recipe was lost in a move. It was given to our family by my Dad's faithful office manager, who sadly went blind and was never able to find it again. Ahh, the lovely ritual of making these puddings, often with fruit from neighbor's yards in Marin County, along with pots of Meyer lemon curd. Sniff.
By the way, I happen to love fruitcake, but certainly not the chemical loaf one buys in the store. I made really labor-intensive fruitcakes one year when I was in high school with my English-South African stepmother's family recipe. Home candied fruits, organic nuts, whole wheat flour (we were frustratingly 'natural' types). They were delicious, with a little smear of fresh sweet butter. The recipe was almost Panforte-like, with only enough batter to bind the copious fruit and nut mix.
Thanks for posting the recipe. Maybe I'll spring a pud' on my processed-food-loving in-laws this Thanksgiving.
re: Caitlin Wheeler
My mother loved fruitcake, even the glow-in-the-dark green/yellow/red candied fruit type. However one of my aunts used to make (and send) wonderful steamed persimmon puddings at Christmas, and shared the recipe, and that's always my preference during the Yuletide. I've made a large steamed persimmon pudding for Christmas dinner, heated brandy and set it alight to be served with whipped cream on a few Christmases.
re: Caitlin McGrath
I made an unbelievable mincemeat one year based on a recipe in Joy of Cooking, I believed, and modified to suit my currently available fresh fruit and whims.
Keeping in mind that mincemeat was originally a means of preserving meat, I used pork with some fat. Also, pears and sour cherries. The volume of fruit was the same, but it was definitely not the same dish.
I too like the Caribbean black cake--especially if it's loaded with alcohol--and I'd love to try the English version. Anyone know where I can get a real English fruitcake (with the marzipan & icing) in NYC?
Since I'm Jewish, I never grew up eating the "traditional" fruitcake. But every Thanksgiving, my grandfather would make what he called fruitcake but is really a lightly-spiced honey cake with raisins and orange peel. Now that he's gone, and I have the recipe, perhaps I will make it for this Thanksgiving.
In my family, we have traditionally eaten a fruitcake-like thing called stollen around the holidays. It is absolutely delicious. Toasted and buttered, it is one of the finest things you can put on the breakfast table. I don't have the family recipe handy, but I found this one online which looks about right to me.
I'm not sure I agree about stollen (although my Mom isn't the most superlative baker, & our family recipe might be faulty - for instance, I am 100% certain that no marzipan was in the picture). It was always quite dry, and required lots of butter to be edible. I didn't mind the butter, but when I finally put my foot down & refused to eat the margerine my mom started buying, I was no longer able to eat more than the top inch of the stollen (Mom adds a frosting glaze).
My sister has never eaten it. She claimed it was the candied fruit. So, one year Mom made it with dried currents & golden raisins, trying to convert her. She still didn't eat it.
I think Mom made panettone for Christmas breakfast last year.
Reminds me of a funny story from cooking school, at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. The master pastry chef said something like "au jour-d'hui on fait le gateau de fruits" (today we make fruitcake) at which point out one of the students says "Mais chef, personne n'aime le gateaux de fruits" ("But chef, no one likes fruit cake"). The pastry chef is quite discombobulated by this and says "Beaucoup de personnes aiment le gateaux de fruits" (many people like fruit cakes). Then someone in the class says, "everyone who likes fruit cake, raise your hand." No one raised their hand. We still made fruit cakes that day, and they went uneaten; fortunately I think we were also making chocolate eclairs the same day.
How about FRUITCAKE HATER'S FRUITCAKE ! It's the best !
In a large bowl cream together 2 c. soft butter, 2 1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar and 1 c. honey. Add 10 large eggs one at a time beating well after each. Into another large bowl sift together 4 c. flour, 2tsp. each cinnamon and baking powder, 1 tsp ground allspice and 3/4 tsp. salt. Stir half the flour mixture into the sugar, egg mixture. In remaining flour dreg 2 1/2 lbs. glazed apricots sliced, 2 lbs. pecan halves,1 1/2 lbs. pitted dates sliced and 1 lb. raisins. In a bowl combine 1 c. apricot nectar, 1/2 c. light cream and 2 T. lemon juice. Add this to batter and fold in apricot, nut mixture. Divide among 4 9X5 loaf pans (buttered and floured) Bake at 250 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Cool. In a bowl combine 1 c. brandy, abd 1/4 c. and orange flavored liquor. Sprinkle each loaf with 1/4th of this mixture and let stand 1 hour. Wrap well in foil and let season in the refrig at least 1 week.
You won't be sorry you tried it.
My husband's grandmother was a professional caterer who came to NYC from St. Lucia and she made a fabulous fruitcake (aka black cake). There are two kinds: light or dark (depending how much soaked, ground fruits you add).
Before she passed on she let me watch her make it and I wrote down the recipe. I now make it once a year at x-mas time for my family. So, yes Striperguy, there is a great fruitcake!
This is an authentic West Indian fruitcake. The recipe was brought to the USA by my husband's grandmother, better known as "Aunt Flossie" at the turn of the last century. It is fairly labor intensive and you need a full day and must follow the recipe exactly or it won't taste the way it should. Note that you can cut this recipe in half.
"Aunt Flossie's Fruitcake"
Ingredients for a 1 lb cake:
1 lb. sweet butter (use a good brand - I like the imports from France)
1 lb. all purpose bleached white flour
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 TBL cinnamon
1 tsp. mace
1 tsp. freshly ground nustmeg
1 TBL vanilla
1 TBL almond extract
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 lb. light brown sugar
1 dozen eggs
Fruits for a 1 lb cake:
1 lb dried pitted prunes
1 lb. raisins
1/2 lb dried cherries
1 lb currants
1/2 lb citron
1/4 lb dried lemon peel
1/4 lb dried orange
In a large ceramic jar (or you can use glass but never metal!) add all the fruits and pour over these:
1 quart medium (not cream) sherry
1 quart ruby (gallo) port
1 quart stout
1 quart dark rum
cover and soak for at least a month before using (these fruits can keep forever -not a surprise considering the amount of alcohol- and I always have fruits soaking in a big ceramic jar that I keep in a cool pantry. If you do this just check on the fruit every few months to make sure all the liquid hasn't evaporated)
When ready to bake the fruits have to be ground. I use a cuisine art and grind them using the pulse button - you want the fruit ground but not turned to paste or mush - so do it a little as a time -don't strain the liquid
To bake the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2.Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy - about 10-12 minutes
3. In a separate bowl put in flour and add all the dried spices
4. Put vanilla, almond extracts and heavy cream in a bowl and set aside
5. Beat the butter mixture once more to make sure its still fluffy and add 1/2 tsp salt
6. Separate the eggs and beat into the butter mixture the yolks ONE AT A TIME
7. Sift the flour mixture
8. Using a wooden spoon beat in 1/4 of the flour mixture to butter. Then alternate adding cream and flour to butter until all is incorporated
9. Add in burnt sugar for coloring the batter - you can make this by literally burning sugar and then adding a little water to give it a more liquid as opposed to sticky texture- or look in the west Indian/import section of your grocery store and you'll see bottles of burnt sugar- so add until get the color you like
10. Add mixing with the wooden spoon 8 large cooking TBL (by this i mean the large metal cooking spoons used to stir large pots) of soaked ground fruits. Now here's the part which calls for your own judgement. Taste the batter after you have added those first 8 cooking TBL of fruits and see how you like it - If you like it "darker" meaning more of a taste of fruits keep adding fruits - the more fruits you add the denser it will be.My family likes it pretty dark (dense)
11. With an electric mixer beat the egg whites unitl stiff but not dry - like for a meringue
11. Fold egg whites into mixture
12. Grease with crisco two deep cake pans - 8-10 inch diameter and 4-5 inches deep. add batter
13. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes and then lower to 200 degrees and bake 4 hours. Check after 2 hours to see how its doing. When done inserted toothpick should emerge relatively clean. When taken out of the oven sprinkle with more rum (this is optional)
Aunt Flossie always made one or two tester cakes to see if she needed to add more fruits to batter.In a very tiny pan - I use small ramekins- I bake a tester cake - I actually do it at 350 degrees and it takes less than an hour - then I taste and add more fruits to the batter if I need it. Or sometimes I bake a dark and light cake. I bake half of it as is and then add more fruit to the other half.
There you have it for the ambitious. I buy my fruits in the Delancy /Orchard St area. There are several candy/dried fruit stores there and prices and selection are good. If you have any questions about the recipe let me know.
Sorry, my mistake - it is really candied orange and lemon peel. Also while it is called a 1 lb fruitcake, it may well weigh more. Flossie called it that because many of the primary ingredients called for are in 1 lb batches. But the recipe can be cut in half and I guess theoretically even in 1/4. And generally all the soaked fruits are not used - which means they can be saved or simply added to for the next cake. This is good because the longer those fruits soak the better the cake. This means that in a couple of years you'll always have some incredibly aged fruits. And of course this cake can be made well ahead of time - and even benefits from some "aging" and seems to last forever!
Holy cow! And from all this you make a ONE POUND cake???
The weight of the ingredients comes at around 8 lbs, NOT counting the alcohol. I guess you don't use all the fruit, but still! An amazing process of concentration must take place if this all gets reduced to a 1 lb cake. That's why it's probably so good.
Okay - I confess. I'm the only person in the world who really likes fruitcake - even the kind with the glowing red and green pieces of fake cherry inside. The best I've had though was the one I made from scratch in late September and then stored in a rum-soaked kitchen towel which I remoistened periodically until Xmas. That particular cake disappeared really quickly once I broke it out and I wasn't the only one loving it.
I made the "Golden New-Fashioned Dried Fruit Cake with Cashews, Pistachios and Bourbon" from Ragen Daley's "In The Sweet Kitchen" last year. It isn't a long keeper, which is just as well because it was devoured with lightening speed. I got raves for this cake and plan on making it again this year - probably several of them. I do enjoy fruitcakes - this one ... absolutely the favourite!
The only fruitcake I like is the Delux Fruitcake made by Collin Street Bakery, based in Corsicana, TX. It helps to be in the pecan country, I think, as the pecans are plentiful in their fruitcake, and help to add texture and flavor to the fruitcake.
Wow! Memories on parade. That Collin St. fruitcake is the only one I've ever loved. My mother used to order it after somebody gave her one.
I like the Dried Fruit and Nut Cake and the Panforte Nero in Pure Desserts by Alice Medrich. The dried fruit cake has no glaceed fruit and is a cake with very little batter and lots of nuts and fruit. It's hard to cut because it's so dense, but it's absolutely delicious. I'll post the recipe if wanted.
The Panforte Nero (Panpepato) has mostly figs and nuts (almonds and hazelnuts) and includes crushed fennel seeds and pepper in the flavoring. Both of these cakes are heavenly.
Collin Street Bakery makes the only fruitcake I crave, the one with Apricot and Pecans. No fake red and green bits. Since it is pecan country, the nuts are large and meaty and the apricots are not cloyingly sweet. Really delicious. And, if you don't eat it, you can keep it and use it as a doorstop or a home protection weapon. It's that dense!
The nuts eventually do go rancid. That's why it's a good idea to return it to the giver right away, as mentioned above by GG Mora on Oct 29, 2002 09:54AM.
Poorly made, re-gifted, stale fruitcakes have earned an undeservedly bad reputation for this lovely cake. When done properly it is time consuming, labour intensive and expensive to make. The result is certainly worth the trouble, but not if your work of art is destined to be unappreciated due to association with the doorstop variety.
i love fruitcake. mostly my homemade ones with more dried, less candied fruits but i'd still try suspect looking ones just because i like it so much. i think fruitcake is like chinese mooncake with the love or hate extremes.
I absolutely adore fruitcake. My mother baked them pretty frequently, but we had the marzipan and white icing only at Christmas. All those chewy sultanas, raisins, the nutty flavour... delicious! Last year I made Christmas puddings and was quite shocked to find that they are not really made here in Canada. Fruitcake and pudding are two of my favourite things about that time of year.
I'm always bummed when I don't get a nice fruitcake for Christmas and either have to make one of my own or go and get one from the Trappists in Kentucky (my Kentucky Mother in Law introduced me to them when I joined the family)!!
I've found that the ones that give fruitcake the horrible reuputation are the ones that are basically commercial cake mix with some candidied someting thrown in. Yuck!
Real and delicious Fruitcake should be a wonderful concoction of spices, fruits, liquour and nuts.
Besides, Fruitcakes used to be high class cakes of choice in medieval times, because it would keep well (and was VERY expensive to make). Poke back into a particular european country's history and you will find some sort of fruitcake lurking in there...and probably still made and available for your tasting!! We're keeping tradition/history alive...EAT FRUITCAKE!
re: Cat Chow
It still ain't cheap to make. But I do it from time to time. I generally make little cakes because if only one person in your house likes fruitcake, that's really all you need. I wrap them up in brandy-soaked rags and foil and ziploc bags and keep them in the linen closet. My folks both like it, and I have a friend who likes to get one from time to time. Mike doesn't,which is fine...more for me.
The whole idea of a baked good that then has to sit and soak up liquor for four months before you can eat it intrigues me to no end.
I'm one of the only people I know who actually likes fruitcake. My mother-in-law was another before she passed several years ago. She always used to buy one of the Claxton ones and the two of us would eat it at Christmas time.
Anyway, my husband makes one that we call chip and cherry cake. It has the nuts, chocolate chips, candied cherries and coconut but doesn't have the green stuff called citron that everybody hates. He also puts macadamia nuts in addition to pecans, sometimes. Warm right out of the oven, it's like candy! Yum!
I love good fruitcake. The recipe I use was one from a great aunt who made 60 lbs a season to send to relatives all over the states. She chopped the dried fruit by hand while watching soap operas.She gave me her fruit cake pans and sat with me at the age of 95 to make sure I understood how to make them. She revised her recipe for over 50 years. I have yet to taste a better fruit cake. If anyone is interested I will post the recipe.
I second that emotion. Id like to see that recipe too. My grandmother's fruitcake was so dense and rich with those glace'd fruits that you could slice it so thin each piece looked like stained glass. She was not one to share her recipes however (nothing was ever written down) so Im afraid she took it with her when she died. I can taste it now just thinking about it, Im a more fruit than nuts person fruitcake-wise, and have found only one commercially baked one worth eating, from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana TX. They are always fresh, moist and delicious, and VERY rich ... Id take up baking them myself, but dont have anyone to give them away too, and have no business being left alone with one all to myself.
don't know if anyone else does this, but I like to heat up fruit cake or mince meat pie and sprinkle on a good dose of whiskey or cognac or brandy
DELICIOUS mmmmmmmmm tastes like christmas
I liked my grandmother's fruit cake. The only one I wil eat now is Claxton's. I usually find them at Sam's Club
I have a black cake that's been sitting in the cellar for 13 months now. Considering whether to cut it.
Love it, and have been making my own for decades. Last batch ran over $30 each. Have found no commercial l like as well as mine. My three from 2010 are aging with a brandy drip and the first will be used in late March. For a commercial product that can be great try Panforte from either Cafe Beaujolail in Mendocino or Panforte Rulli from Larkspur, Ca. The three commercial brands l have found from Italy have not been as good, why l cannot tell. The depth of flavor is not as intense nor is the texture.