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2013’s Fruit Cake: A Modern Twist on a Classic


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By Marie Flanagan

Confession: I like fruit cake.

When I was a freckled kid in pigtails, I’d kneel on my chair at the kitchen table and watch my mom mix up the heaviest and most beloved cake in our house–the holiday fruit cake. Mixed with strange candied citron and fruit glace, and wrapped in a brandy-soaked cloth and wax paper, the large cake would sit in waiting until after we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve.

After all the gifts had been opened, my dad would mix up egg nog, and we’d celebrate the baby Jesus’s birthday with fruit cake and egg nog. This tradition has never wavered. Each and every year, we open gifts on Christmas Eve, eat fruit cake, and sip egg nog. This year, the fruit cake torch was passed on to me.

With my mom’s cake so perfectly ingrained in everyone’s memory, I decided to go in a slightly different direction with my fruit cake recipe. Inspired by Cold Spring Bakery’s fruit cake, this recipe substitutes the traditional candied fruit with rehydrated dried fruit like apples, apricots, and raisins. It’s a modified version of What’s Cooking America’s Regal Fruit Cake recipe.

A Fruit Cake for 2013

Yields: 1 large fruitcake
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 3 hour 20 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow and purple raisins
  • 1 cup chopped, dried apples
  • 1 cup chopped, dried apricots
  • ½ cup chopped, dried peaches
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice (or cider)
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Brandy

Preparation:

1. Grease a 10-inch tube or round pan; line the pan with wax paper and grease very well.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dried fruit. Bring the grape juice to a boil, then pour the the grape juice over the dried fruit. Let stand 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
4. In a large bowl, cream butter or margarine. Gradually add brown sugar, stirring until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and mace; gradually add to butter mixture. Add almond extract and fruit mixture; stir until well blended. Spoon into prepared pan.
6. Bake 3 hours and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your fruitcake. The temperature should be between 200 and 210 degrees. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pan, peel paper liner from cake, and cook completely.
8. Wrap in a brandy-soaked cheesecloth; store in the refrigerator. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
 

This recipe yields a rich, moist, fruit-laden spice cake. It pairs perfectly with egg nog – heck, I wouldn’t eat it any other way.

And just in case you’re not up for making your own fruit cake, Cold Spring Bakery in Cold Spring, MN still has their famous fruit cakes available this season.

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