Not that I’m saying that your mom makes icky cake it’s just that fruit cake often is well-gross. The glaceed fruit is sickly sweet and that weird canadied peel stuff is just unpleasant when you happen upon a piece of it.
On the Christmas tray it is usually the last to be picked. It is the thing that you end-up with extras in January. It is the thing that gets eaten when it is THE ONLY SWEET LEFT IN THE HOUSE AND YOU REALLY NEED ONE.
But this is a great cake. In fact, you may not even want to share.
I could tell you a sweet story of this recipe being passed down by generations of women in my family, carefully being guarded and nurtured along the way but that would be a lie.
I first got this recipe from watching “Good Eats” with Alton Brown at least 10 years ago. I’ve changed it over time and now find myself multiplying the recipe by four since so many folks now eagerly await “their chunk of cake”. Word to the wise “Don’t eat Christmas Cake and Drive”-at least not this cake.
I usually start mine on Remembrance Day since that’s when my Mom usually made hers (which falls into the icky category-no offence Mom but that sticky fruit is just not for me). That is totally overkill though so you can start yours anytime in December, just give it a good week to mellow and absorb as much hooch as possible.
In a large pot combine and let sit overnight.
1 cup rum
1/2 cup each; dried cranberries, cherries, apricots and blueberries (pick the mixture that you like best). 1 cup each golden raisins and currents. 1/4 cup candied ginger and zest of one lemon.
You see, don’t you like it already? Warning: watch husband like a hawk to ensure that this mixture is not eaten before you actually make the cake.
The next day add; 1 tsp each ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. 4 cloves and 4 allspice berries (grind fresh). 10 Tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup of apple juice.
Bring to a boil and let simmer 5-10 min. Let cool 30 min.
Sift in 1 3/4cup flour, 1 /2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp. baking powder.
Add two eggs.
Bake in loaf pans (I use pans with removable bottoms that are normally used for wedding cakes). Here’s how to prepare the pans by first buttering them and then lining with parchment paper.
I’ve doubled the recipe this time to made three tiers of cake. One recipe would give you two large loaf pans.
350 degrees for 3/4 hour (check that it is baked through but not dry). Let the cakes cool completely before trying to remove from pan.
Spritz with brandy frequently (every second day is perfect, feel free to spritz yourself liberally too) until you can’t wait any longer to eat it.