What most people don't realize is that the cake part of fruitcake is there to keep all the delicious morsels of fruit, nuts and in my case – chocolate – held together. Fruitcake is not meant to be cake-y in texture at all – no sponge action happening here. This is a twist on Mrs. Maus’ fruitcake recipe. Add in your favorite dried fruits and nuts – the recipe below is meant to be a guide. I use 5, 6″ pans, but you can use other desired pans, just bear in mind this cake doesn’t really rise much, yet I still recommend a parchment collar regardless to aid in removal. If using alternative pans, you can load the batter up to the top of the pan, it will settle as it bakes. These bake for 3 hours, so plan on being home.
4 lbs. dried fruit – I used cranberries, cherries, apricots, blueberries, pineapple, prunes and golden raisins – along with 1/4 c. chopped crystallized ginger
2 lbs. nuts – I used walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts and sliced almonds
1 bag Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips
For the cake you will need
1 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2.5 c. AP flour
1 tbsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
Spiced rum, bourbon or brandy for finishing
Place all the nuts, fruit, crystallized ginger and chocolate chips in a large bowl. I chop any of the fruits up so their are not massive pieces, as in the case of the pineapple which came in full rings and sliced the apricots in half. This allows for the ingredients to be more dispersed.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees – cut five collars for your baking pans by tearing an 18″-20″ sheet of parchment, then folding it in four lengthwise, cutting them into strips. Cut the fifth using one of the pre-cut sheets as a guide with a second piece of parchment. Prep 5, 6″ round baking pans with Bak-klene and place a collar around the edge of each, prepping those with Bak-klene as well.
In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar, scraping bowl if necessary. While mixer is running, add eggs – one at a time, followed by the molasses and spices. Last, add the flour and mix until well combined.
Pour batter over fruit/nut mixture and stir with a spatula to combine.
Divide batter between pans and place into the oven. I initially had three in the back and two in front, which I rotated after half the baking time was over. Bake for three hours, remove from oven and pour 2 tbsp. spiced rum over each cake. Allow to completely cool in their pans.
To remove, I smooshed the parchment down on top of the cake with my hand and turned the cake to release it using my splayed fingers upside down.
You can either serve immediately or cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two months.
Here is something I resisted for years - Glögg. It just seemed unappetizing to drink hot wine, but then I decided to make it and fell in love with it. I had read many recipes for years and saw many wonderful things to put in, I opted to try and make it simple yet utilize some of my Scandanavian heritage as well. I place all of the ingredients into a slow cooker as opposed to dealing with the stove, yet you could let it hover below a simmer on the stove if that is your only option. Either way, you want to let it mull for at least 30 minutes. I also would add a third suggestion in that if you do not have one of these fantastic countertop appliances and prefer to heat it up on the stove - keep it warm in the Alfi Carafe, I have found it keeps my beverages hot for up to 12 hours.
Peeled zest & juice of one orange
10 allspice berries
10 whole cloves
1 large cinnamon stick, broken
4 cardamom pods
1 cup honey
2/3 cup Kings Ginger, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 bottle of Merlot or other fruity wine
In a tea ball or cheesecloth, place the zest, allspice, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Combine tea ball, honey, liqueur, orange juice and wine in vessel of your choosing. Steep for at least 30 minutes and serve hot accompanied by a large orange zest, star anise or cinnamon stick garnish if desired.