Christmas Fruit Cake
How about a fruitcake thats moist, aromatic and packed with flavour? In this recipe feel free to use any dry fruit and nuts of your choice. For my choice of dried fruit, I went for the sweet tartness and deep flavour of dried Bing cherries and the crunch of dried, black mission figs, besides their gorgeous hues of deep, dark mahogany. Plus the addition of almond paste makes for a dense, delicious moist cake. Once chopped, the dried fruit and nuts were tossed in dark rum and then allowed to macerate for 3 weeks so they plumped up nicely and were oozing with moisture and flavour!
Cake pans were greased in various sizes, a nine inch square and a few 3 inch and 4 inch rounds. Once the cakes have been covered in marzipan and iced with fondant, the mini cakes make for delightful place setting/hostess gifts or you could cut and box slices of the large cake as they hold just as beautifully.. Not to mention that the whole household smells divine, with these babies baking in the oven!
For this recipe, you will need:
Fruit and Nuts:
1/2 Cup dried figs
1/2 Cup dried cherries
1/2 Cup dried currants
1/2 Cup dried raisins
1 Cup almonds/walnuts or Pecans
1/2 Cup dark Rum
Ingredients for the Cake:
2/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground spices ( Nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, pepper, mace)
2 tsp cocoa powder
5 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
8 oz package of quality almond paste
1 tsp pure Vanilla
Yield: 9 inch cake
Prepare the dried Fruit and Nuts at least a day prior:
Combine the chopped dried fruit and nuts with dark rum in medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and macerate overnight or longer at room temperature.
To make the cake:
- Pre heat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Grease and prepare cake pans
- Sift together all the dry ingredients.
- Cream the butter and the sugar, till light and fluffy. With the mixer running gradually incorporate the almond paste. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are well combined.
- Then add in the dry ingredients and mix gently.
- Add the macerated fruit and nuts and mix with a spatula to combine.
- Spoon batter into prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
Decorating the cake:
Place cooled cake on a cake board and brush with warm apricot jam.
Dust work surface with icing sugar and roll out Marzipan till about 5mm thick and large enough to cover the cake. Lay the rolled marzipan onto the glazed cake and smooth it over with your hands. Trim away any excess marzipan and then smooth and flatten the top and sides of your cake using a pair of fondant smoothers.
Brush the marzipan covered cake with clear alcohol. Then roll and cover with fondant to finish. Boxed and ribboned, these little beauties are ready to gift or slice, serve and enjoy with your favourite cup of tea!