Monday, December 19, 2011

Fruit Cake Recipes That Bakers Are Raving About!

I was browsing through the Christmas cakes this morning and got to thinking about my grandmother's special cake she made nearly every year until she passed last Christmas Eve.  When the holidays approached we all got excited because we knew it meant a fruit cake would be on it's way soon!  And boy was it a fruit cake!  Soooo delicious!  And if you liked alcohol she would wrap the cake in a cloth soaked in brandy so by the time it reached your house it was potent!


My grandmother's recipe was a lighter colored cake than this first recipe which I found on Epicurious, but this one sounds rich and delicious!  In fact it got nothing but rave reviews from the bakers!  This is called a Dark Fruit Cake probably because of the molasses which gives it a dark color and rich flavor:


Ingredients:

Dark Fruit Cake
Photo by: Lara Faroni

  • 1/4 pound butter, or 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups small pieces mixed candied fruit
  • 1/2 cup small pieces candied citron
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter two 9x5-inch loaf pans, line them with foil, then butter the foil. Cream the butter or shortening, add the brown sugar, and beat until light. Add the lemon extract and eggs and beat well. Stir in the molasses and blend. Mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, mace, cloves, and salt; beat into the first mixture. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Stir in the candied fruit, citron, raisins, and pecans, and mix well. Spoon into the pans and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out onto racks to cool. When completely cool, wrap well and store in an airtight container.

Brandied Fruit Cake (And here ya go - the alcohol version like my grandmother's)

Soak two large pieces of cheesecloth in brandy. Wrap each fruit cake in the cheesecloth, covering all sides, then wrap well in foil. Moisten the cheesecloth with additional brandy every few days for about a week. The brandy will flavor the cake and help preserve it too.


Read More http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/christmas/fruitcake/recipes/food/views/Dark-Fruit-Cake-236603#ixzz1h03xtZHv


Here's another found on Allrecipes which is just the opposite of the one above, it's a White Fruit Cake with about 37 out of 39 5-star reviews so it must be delicious!

  • 1 1/2 cups candied pineapple chunks
  • 3 cups golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups candied cherries
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 2 ounces candied orange peel
  • 2 ounces candied citron peel
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups butter
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 4 cups pecans, chopped
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Chop pineapple, raisins, and cherries. Combine chopped fruit with currants, orange peel, and citron; soak in orange juice overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Place a small pan of water in the oven. Line one 5x9 inch loaf pan and two 3x8 inch loaf pans with parchment or doubled waxed paper.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioner's sugar. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Stir in fruit, juice, and pecans. Mix in sifted flour.
  4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites to peaks. Fold into batter. Fill pans 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until golden brown, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.


Read More: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/white-fruit-cake/detail.aspx




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I'm not sure if there's enough time left before Christmas to make this easy cake but here it is if you've got the ingredients ready to go!  This is an Ice Box Fruit Cake and doesn't require baking!  Excellent but you do have to let it age...for ONE week.



Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers, crushed

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the pecans, raisins, walnuts, cherries, condensed milk and vanilla wafers. Dough will be very thick, you will need to use your hands.
  2. Form dough into a ring shape on top of a dinner plate. Wrap in many layers of plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil. Allow to age in the refrigerator for at least a week. The flavors will have a chance to blend and all of the milk will be absorbed into the cake.

If you'd rather not have the whole cake but would prefer cookies; here's a nice Whole Wheat Fruitcake Cookie recipe also from Allrecipes website.  I think I've had these before; really delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup candied mixed fruit peel, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried mixed fruit

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 5x9 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook together the sugar, water, raisins, butter and salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Sift together the flour, soda, ginger and cinnamon. Stir into the cooled cooked mixture.
  4. Add the chopped dates, mixed peels, nuts and dried fruit.
  5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or drop by the teaspoon on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.


And finally here is the plain ole Traditional Fruit Cake recipe adapted from Delia Smith. This thing looks fabulous!  Packed full of fruit of every kind!  Yummm!
Fruitcake 1Traditional Fruitcake
Adapted From Delia Smith

Ingredients:

1 lb dried currants
8 oz. raisins
8 oz. golden raisins
8 oz. diced candied orange peel
3 T brandy (you can use rum, bourbon, or Irish whiskey in place of brandy) plus more for “feeding”
8 oz. butter
8 oz. brown sugar
4 eggs
8 oz. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 oz. pecans, toasted and chopped
1 tsp. molasses
grated zest 1 lemon
grated zest 1 orange
The night before you want to bake the cake, combine the raisins, currants and orange peel and pour the 3 T brandy over it. Toss with your hands, cover with a towel, and leave overnight. (If you skip this step, it’s not the end of the world. Just toss them before you add them to the cake).
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the flour, the spices and the salt and beat until just combined. Finally, fold in the fruit, the molasses the pecans and the zest with a wooden spoon.
Line an 8 inch round springform pan with parchment paper (I cut out a circle for the bottom by tracing, then cut a strip to wrap around the edges) and pour in the batter. Place another circle of parchment paper with a hole cut in the middle (Delia says about the size of a 50p coin, which is roughly the size of a 50 cent coin, but I haven’t seen a 50 cent coin since I was a kid, so use some discretion. Bigger than a quarter) directly on top of the batter, then wrap the whole pan in a collar of brown paper (I cut about a 4 inch strip of paper from a grocery bag (I usually use my own bags, but sometimes you need the paper!) tied with kitchen twine.
Bake in the low oven for 4 -4.5 hours, or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan, then poke with skewers and pour some brandy over the top. Soak cheesecloth in more brandy, and wrap the cake thoroughly. Store in a tin for a week or two, “feeding” every few days with more brandy. The character of the cake will change with aging, making it more and more confection like the longer it ages.


Read more: http://savour-fare.com/2009/12/07/its-fruitcake-weather-buddy/#ixzz1h079iRmD

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Well, I hope this helps add some holiday cheer..... hiccup.... ; ) to your celebrations!  Do you have a special  favorite holiday recipe that your family makes every year?  If so please feel free to share in the comment section below.  

Until next time..........happy baking!

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