Fruitcake has a bad reputation. It’s that cake that can be re-gifted year after year because nobody dares to eat it. Well, that’s not true in MY house. Inspired by all the references to delicious fruitcakes-of-old on VPR (you think I’m joking, but I’m not) I decided that traditional fruitcake seemed right up my alley*
So I poked around, came up with recipes that were either too small, too large, or had too much leavening in them** and then I made up my own. The best part may be that my mom took this opportunity to give my great great-grandmother’s pudding tin to me.
I wonder if anyone before me used this to make fruitcake…
The trick to delicious fruitcake is the same as for any other delicious food. Don’t use ingredients you don’t like. For everyone I’ve ever met this means don’t ruin a perfectly good cake with those glow-in-the-dark bits like citron (and whatever makes the green chunks in commercial fruitcake, ewww) I’ve listed the fruits I used in my cake, but you should change things up to suite your own tastes.
Fruitcake is about 1/3 dried fruit, 1/3 flour and spice mix, and 1/3 egg, sugar, butter mix. Notice the only leavening is the egg. This is a very dense cake (and that’s before you soak it in rum) Also, if you don’t want the rum (hey, that’s your choice) I’d recommend soaking it in apple cider. The liquid helps make the cake moist and tasty. But maybe make this just a few days before the party instead of a few weeks…
Ye Olde Fashioned Fruitcake
2 c chopped dried fruit
1.5 c flour
1 stick of butter (1/2 c)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c molasses
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t each: nutmeg, allspice, ginger, salt
1/4 t cloves
1-2 c rum or apple cider
I used 1 c of chopped apple, 1/4 c each of raisins, dried cranberries, and currants. 4 dried figs (all I had left) and made up the difference with candied pineapple and ginger. I don’t like nuts in my quickbread, but if you do you could probably add nuts to this mix.
Soak all the dried fruit in 1/2 c of rum for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.
Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the molasses and eggs*** and mix it all up. I’m thinking next time I might use maple syrup instead of molasses, that’d make it more vermonty right?
Sift the flour and spices together. Or whisk, whatever.
Pre-heat your oven to 250F. Grease your cake pan/bundt pan/pudding tin well.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until everything is almost mixed. Add the fruit and rum it’s been soaking in. Mix together.
Pour (or glop, as the case may be) into a well greased cake pan of some kind.
Bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours (less if you’re using a shallow cake pan, more if you’re using a tall bundt pan or pudding tin)
Allow to cool and turn cake out into an airtight container. Pour 1/2 c of rum over the cake and close the container. Allow to soak. Repeat this rum soaking process every 5-7 days for about 3 weeks. You want the cake well soaked, but not soggy.
Serve and enjoy! But maybe don’t give it to kids, unless they’re teething or something…
*dried fruit, heavy on the spices, and soaked in rum? What could possibly go wrong??
**I decided fruitcake should not be anything that could be described as light OR fluffy
***I only used 1 egg, but it was this giant egg with 2 yokes and twice as much white as usual. The joys of raising chickens!