After last week's all-day, intensive Kougin Amann, this week's English Dried Fruit Cake was a snap. You don't even need the stand mixer! Just a little old fashioned elbow grease.
November 7, 2014
Name of Cake: Easy Peasy Fruitcake
Occasion: Winter is here
Constituents: a 9x13 fruitcake made with nuts and dried fruit, and fresh apple, soaked in rum
Rum! I love a boozy cake. The rum is technically optional, but I wouldn't dare skip it. If you do rum the cake, or booze it up in some other fashion, give it 24 hours at least to mellow. Or wrap it up in cheesecloth and plastic wrap and douse it regularly, and keep it edible for months.
What makes this fruitcake so unique is that it is made with fresh apple chunks and dried fruit instead of glaceed peel and whatnot. This not only makes the cake easier to make on a whim, but in my opinion makes it more delicious and accessible to the fruitcake-suspicious. Rose recommends dried pears, apples, apricots, and prunes but really you could do whatever you wanted. I chose dried pears, a few apricots, prunes, and some tart cherries. These got to soak in some hot water for a little bit to relax and soften.
I had pre-prepped all the ingredients I could earlier in the week, which made the assembling of this cake even faster. Right before I set to work I just needed to peel and chop the apple, measure out the butter, and add the baking powder (for some reason I never pre-measure the baking powder).
Instead of creaming the butter and sugar, or creaming the butter with the dry ingredients, the butter is melted and the sugars cooked a bit. Then the apples and orange zest are added.
Here I must stop and say, towards the end of the Heavenly Cakes bake-through, I received Rose's Zest n' Nest free with the understanding that I would try it out and mention it on my blog. I never did because I am lazy, but I will now say that I use the zester every time I need citrus zest, or grated ginger, and yes I once used it to very finely grate Parmesan. It is a wonderful tool. You all need to go out and buy one for yourself. Go on, consider it an early Christmas present.
Anyhoo, it turns out I only had half the recommended amount of orange zest, but the resulting cake still has a nice orangeyness to it. But note to self, next time buy two oranges.
The cubed apples are added to the pot of butter and sugar, then the eggs are mixed in one by one. You get a soupy looking pot that may look like this:
In the meantime, the soaked and drained dried fruit and the toasted pecans are stirred into the dry ingredients. Then the wet is folded in, and ta-da! You are done mixing the batter. It gets poured into a 9x13 pan and sent off to bake for 40 minutes or so. Which will result in something like this:
And your house will smell amazing.
So after a ten minute rest the cake gets bathed in rum and put to bed for another day. I stored the cake in its cake pan; I thought that would be the safest and easiest thing to do.
Mark and I eagerly took our slices of aromatic cake the next night and with a generous dollop of whipped cream (slightly rummed) and a sprinkle of cinnamon, we sampled the cake. It is delicious. It tastes of warm winter nights. Mark commented that even though it tastes hearty due to all the fruit and nuts, the texture was light and not cloying. There could have been more rum, but this way the booze didn't cover up all the delicate cinnamon and orange notes. The fresh apples keep the cake moist and soft. This cake is a winner. This cake is right up there with the Sticky Toffee Pudding as my go-to winter cakes that makes me feel warm and cozy and happy.