Though I am sure that I have had Christmas fruit cake before I did not really remember it. Given that and the controversy around fruit cake when I saw some posts about Christmas cake I knew that I would have to try making one to find out. All of the recipes that I saw called for making the cake a few weeks ahead of time to let it mature. Many of the recipes called for "feeding" the cake brandy on a regular basis while it matured. I did not want my cake to end up being too heavy with brandy so I decided to just soak the fruits in some brandy and then I wrapped the cake in cheese cloth that was soaked in brandy while it matured. Some of the recipes that I came across called for adding a layer of marzipan and a layer of icing but I wanted to keep my fruit cake nice and simple so I skipped the frosting layers. After waiting for over a month I finally unwrapped the fruit cake to try today. I am not really sure why fruit cakes have such a bad wrap as this fruit cake was really good. It was nice and moist and full flavour! The cake had a hint of booze without being overwhelmed by it. I think that I will be making a Christmas fruit cake again next year.
1 cup currants
1 cup mixed candied peel
3/4 cup candied pineapple (chopped)
3/4 cup red candied cherries (halved)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch of salt
6 tablespoons butter (softened)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
1 tablespoon molasses
3/4 cups walnuts (chopped)
1. Mix the currants, mixed peel, pineapple, cherries, raisins and the brandy in a bowl, cover and let sit for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix 1/4 cup of the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
4. Mix the butter, sugar, jam and molasses in a bowl.
5. Mix the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time.
6. Mix the remaining flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture.
7. Mix in the fruit mixture along with the nuts.
8. Pour the mixture into baking pans lined with double parchment paper.
9. Place a baking pan with water on the lower rack of the oven.
10. Cover the cake pans with foil and bake on the middle racks of a preheated 300F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 45-60 minutes.
11. Let cool.
12. Soak some cheese cloth in some brandy and wrap it around the cake.
13. Wrap the cake in foil and refrigerate for 30 days.