November 29, 2007

Fruitcakes

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Chocolate and Cherry Cake
Chocolate-Cherry Fruitcake sans nuts

David Lebovitz is always and inspiration to bake something including the most ridiculed and reviled (at least here in the US) of all Christmas season staples: the fruitcake. The on-going joke that somewhere there's a fruitcake being endlessly passed on from one person to another from generation to generation since the first fruitcake was baked could be true because people don't want to throw food away and "re-gift" the dreaded fruitcake. I remember getting one such cake many years ago, it came in a Christmas gift basket with all those beer sausages and cheeses. I felt so guilty when I threw the fruitcake away. Every year there is a fruitcake tossing contest because these people either really hate fruitcakes, have nothing better to do, or just love using their catapults. I can understand why they don't like fruitcake. The first US-made fruitcake we had was in my parents-in-law's house in Texas (the cake was probably a gift). We all hated it. It was bone dry, studded with tasteless hard fruits and nuts, with no cake (flour) visible, cloyingly sweet, and no hint of liquor either. My MIL used to make the darkest, moistest, most delicious will-make-you-tipsy fruitcakes in Manila and the US fruitcakes were a big disappointment.

Anyway, I made the traditional fruitcakes which I will inject regularly with brandy for the next 3 weeks and half a recipe of David's Chocolate-Cherry Fruitcake which was a semi-disaster because I did not add the nuts. I had the recipe in front of me but forgot the nuts were still in the toaster oven when I started mixing and spooned the batter into the pans without realizing the nuts were missing. Oh well, the cake is still very good and will bake another batch a week before Christmas. I sprinkled some of the toasted nuts on top of the sliced cake for the crunch and flavor.

Fruitcake

Fruitcake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ tsp allspice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups snipped whole dates
1 cup dried currants or sultanas
½ cup chopped red candied cherries
½ cup chopped green candied cherries
½ cup candied pineapple
¾ cup candied citron
¼ cup candied lemon peels
¼ cup candied orange peels
¼ cup chopped candied ginger
1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
1 cup soft butter
1½ cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup brandy plus more for brushing
zest of 1 large orange
  • Pre-heat oven to 300°F.
  • Grease three 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans, line with parchment paper, grease paper, set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix fruits and nuts with ¼ cup flour, set aside. Sift the rest of the flour with the spices, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, eggs, juice, brandy and zest. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes. With a large spatula mix in the fruits and nuts. Spoon into the prepared pans, smooth top. Bake for 2 hours or until cake test done (I use a small wooden skewer). Place on wire racks and let cool in pans thoroughly. Remove from pans and peel off paper. Brush all over with brandy and wrap in plastic film. Keep in a freezer gallon bag in the refrigerator. Moisten loaves with brandy every 4 days for 3 weeks before serving.

7 comments:

Ruy said...

Beautiful. It looks so good I'll definitely eat it for myself if I get one for Christmas (Im not hinting!). How was it?

I remember cooking fruitcake with my grandmother growing up. I as the flour sifter and back up mixer (mixing the ingredients can get pretty heavy specially in big quantities). Her fruitcakes were pretty great compared to most that I've tried. Definitely not dry.
Your fruitcake brings back memories.=)

Dhanggit said...

speaking of your kitchen disaster story, it reminded me one time i was baking something..and i couldnt find the nuts..my husband ate them all up.. grrr..anyways this is a gorgeous concoction of fruit cake you did: choco & cherry..you could toss up one over here.i would eagerly take it..

oggi said...

Thanks Ruy. It's only 2 days old but the fruitcake is already very good, moist, and not overly sweet. Filipinos definitely improve upon and make better cakes and desserts.:)

Dhanggit, thanks. David Lebovitz's recipes have never failed me. This super moist choc-cherry fruitcake can be eaten right away without waiting to ripen.
That's funny about your husband eating the nuts.:)

Marvin said...

oggi, your fruitcake looks fabulous! I actually make two fruit cakes at the end of october every year, and I spritz them with brandy every so often. I eat the first one right around thanksgiving, and keep the second one until christmas, and then I eat that one too!

We're already halfway through our first loaf and I'm continuing to brandy up the second loaf until christmas. I wasn't going to post about it because I didn't think anyone cared about fruitcake, but maybe I will now because of you;)

oggi said...

Marvin thanks. I also used to make them every year the first week of November. I only bake them now every two years because the last 10 years I started buying the German Stollen as alternate to fruitcake.

Wow, your second loaf will be sooo good by Christmas with the longer brandy spritzing period.:)

Sidney said...

I don't eat them often but I like those cakes. Are they specifically for Christmas season?

oggi said...

Hi Sidney. Yes, they are available to buy here in the US and in the Philippines (when we were there) during the Christmas season.

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