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Traditional Dark Fruitcake

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Traditional Dark Fruitcake
Used under licence from iStock
Fruit cake is usually hated or tolerated with very few people who go out of their way to consume this much maligned culinary creation. Fruitcake used to be the traditional offering at weddings and sometimes at Christmas depending on what country you are located in. This tradition seemed to start in Britain and made its way to the USA with the pilgrims.In the 16th century sugar from the colonies was used inexpensively to produce candied fruit which made fruitcakes popular and very affordable. Fruitcake has fallen out of favor as the choice of many brides so it was a surprise when Prince William and Kate Middleton picked fruit cake for their wedding. This recipe is not an extremely heavy dark cake but rather a medium dark brandy soaked creation chock full of fruit, nuts and fragrant warm spices. If you want a truly decadent cake unwrap it every week or so and brush on a little more brandy. Take care to reseal it well or it won't ferment successfully.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 9 hours

Yield: 84 portions

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup halved red glacé cherries
  • 1 cup halved green glacé cherries
  • 3 cups candied chopped mixed peel
  • 2 cups dark golden raisins
  • 2 cups Thompson raisins
  • 2 cups dried currants
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp. ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Preparation:

  1. In very large bowl, mix together the cherries, mixed peel, raisins, currants and 3/4 cup of the brandy.
  2. Cover the bowl tightly and let stand for at least two hours or overnight, stirring occasionally
  3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line a 13- x 9- inch cake pan with parchment paper; set aside
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the sliced almonds, pecan pieces and about 1/2 cup of the flour
  5. Add the nut mixture to the brandied fruit mixture and stir to combine completely
  6. In very large bowl or mixer cream the soft butter together with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the brown sugar until creamy, approximately 5 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
  7. Beat the eggs in one at a time making sure each is combined well before adding the next egg.
  8. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract.
  9. In medium bowl, sift together the remaining flour (2 1/2 cups), baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice,mace, baking soda and cloves
  10. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture stirring until combined.
  11. Add the batter to the reserved fruit mixture and stir to mix well.
  12. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
  13. Set pan in a shallow pan on bottom rack of the oven and pour in water so it comes up halfway up sides of pan.
  14. Bake the fruitcake on the center rack of the preheated oven for an hour.
  15. Lay a piece of foil loosely over the baking fruitcake
  16. Bake fruitcake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 additional hours.
  17. Remove fruitcake from the oven and from the water bath.
  18. Let fruitcake cool on a wire rack.
  19. Remove the fruitcake from the pan and peel the parchment paper off the bottom.
  20. Soak a double-thickness piece of cheesecloth in the remaining brandy and wrap the cloth around the fruitcake. Wrap the cheesecloth in plastic wrap then completely enclose in foil.
  21. Refrigerate fruitcake for at least one month or for up to three months.
  22. Cut fruitcake crosswise into 6 portions.
  23. Cut portions into 14 slices each to make 84 portions.

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