Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not Your Grandmother's Fruitcake!

I know that some people actually like traditional fruitcake, but I don’t.  Not with its candied neon green and red cherries, candied citron and heavy, dry texture.  Who in their right mind bakes a cake for 3 to 4 hours?  On the other hand, fruitcake made with dried fruit is very good!  The following recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake. 

Cake Ingredients:
4 cups assorted dried fruits, chopped if necessary
1 cup apple brandy
1 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup butter
1 cup hard apple cider
1 tsp cinnamon
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup walnuts, chopped
Glaze ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
I used 8 different kinds of dried fruit: ½ cup each apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, currants, mango, and pineapple.  Mix together in large mixing bowl and pour apple brandy over it.  Stir well.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set at least overnight.

Heat oven to 325°F.  Grease and flour three 4-1/2” x 8-5/8” foil loaf pans. 
Place fruit/brandy mixture in non-reactive pan.  Add sugar, butter, cider and cinnamon.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often.  Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool for about an hour.

Put fruit mixture in large mixing bowl.  Combine dry ingredients and sprinkle over fruit.  Mix together with a large wooden spoon.  Stir in eggs one at a time until completely combined.  Stir in nuts.

Spoon into pans and bake for 45-50 minutes – until cake tester comes out clean.

Let cakes sit for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove from pans and sit on rack to cool.   Since I was planning on giving two of these away, I washed two of the foil pans to put the cakes back into.
Once cool, mix glaze by combining powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl.  Add enough water to make a thin icing.  (If you're like me, you'll have to go back and add more powdered sugar because I always seem to misjudge the amount of liquid required and make it waaayyyy too thin!)  Glaze the cakes and sprinkle with holiday sugar.  Enjoy!  PS: You might want to explain to the recipient that this is not your grandmother’s fruitcake! 

Use your holiday cookie cutters as patterns for decorating your cakes!

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