About four years ago, my dad wistfully remarked that he would like to sample a really good fruitcake. It was during the holidays and he possibly was looking at one of those yucky fruitcakes that look all sticky and sweaty in their plastic-wrapped packages, with the colored bits of "fruit" and chewy looking "nuts" poking out of the "cake." I cheerfully told him that I had a real fruitcake recipe (RLB's Less Fruity Fruitcake from The Cake Bible) and that I would happily bake him one next Christmas.
So, I'm about 4 years overdue, and it's a different recipe, but who's counting?
December 5, 2009
Name of Cake: Heavenly Fruitcake
Occasion: Christmas, Melinda, and Heavenly Cake Bakers
Constituents: Cake, with rum and glaceed fruit and pecans
I have truly been planning on baking the Less Fruity Fruitcake for years now, but I've always let the holiday season come and go without the cake being made. Mostly, I have been uninspired by the yucky looking candied fruit that the grocery stores tell me I ought to bake a fruitcake with. Eeewwwww.
Then here comes along Rose's Heavenly Cakes and she's got another recipe for fruitcake, this time with a lot more nuts, less glaceed fruit (which she now recommends should come from Europe), and a bigger capacity bundt pan. The pan costs about $35 so I was still more interested in The Cake Bible's version (Rose also recommends making little fruit cakelettes or one 6 in round), but Melinda and I agreed to try this one out together. Then we discovered the HCB were set to bake this for December, so Melinda and I planned to publish our posts at the same time.
chefshop.com), but I found some good looking lemon and orange peel at the local Whole Foods. Many suggested that I candy my own peel, which really isn't so hard, but I wasn't up for the task. Good looking glaceed charries was nigh impossible to find locally. I almost ordered from chefshop, but then decided it would be faster to just give in and get the crummy grocery store cherries. I was already two weeks behind Melinda and getting nervous there wouldn't be enough time for the cake to mellow and get all yummy before Christmas.
When it came to making the batter, Rose gives curious instructions to soften the butter unti it becomes creamy. Creamy? Like this?
I am curious why Rose goes back to the creaming method for this cake. With the Chocolate Streusel Cake, Rose explains that with all the liquid the creaming method is necessary so that the flour can absorb better. There doesn't seem to be a lot of liquid with this cake (or any liquid), but the butter is almost equal in weight to the flour. Is that why? Why, Rose? Why?
The batter, regardless of all these questions, was as lovely and thick as most RLB batters are:
I smoothed about 2/3 of the batter into two 8 inch loaf pans, and the rest into my 6-cup cakelette pan. I forgot about the instructions Rose gave about turning down the oven temperature if using a dark pan (which they all were) and about tenting the loaf pans with foil halfway thorugh the bake. After about 20 minutes the cakes and cakelettes were all pretty much overdone. Dang!
My friends, The Jellos, and I are sampling the little cakelettes as I write this post. Despite their burnt crust, the insides are moist, lightly sweet, and faintly spicy. The nuts and fruit are delicious and in good proportion to the cake (that's right, there's CAKE in this fruicake!), and our only complaint is that there isn't enough rummy taste. The Jello's bassett hound liked the cakelettes so much that not only did he help himself to one whole one (that he stole off the counter) and while we were standing in the kitchen amazed that a bassett hound stretched himself long enough to reach the countertop, he ran into the living room and stole the rest of my fruitcakelette. So hats off to Rose, who created a fruitcake delicious to both man and man's best friend!
I look forward to sampling the mellowed out loaves at Christmastime, and to get my dad's opinion on them. I will have to report back.