Tag Archives: fruitcake

Sultana Cake Recipe

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake

Sultana Cake, believed to be of British/Scottish origins, is so named because sultana raisins are the main ingredient.  Often served at tea time, this unfrosted cake is a cross between a war cake, a Dundee cake, and a fruitcake. More sweet than a war cake and definitely less rich than a traditional fruitcake, this is a hearty, stick-to-the-ribs, kind of cake. Unlike a fruitcake, liquor is not common in a Sultana Cake.

Traditionally, I believe, Sultana Cake only had the raisins and maybe some nuts in it. My recipe, however, is slightly more luxurious with the addition of currants along with some glazed cherries and mixed fruit though the raisins are still the main ingredient.

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake

This is a much easier and quicker cake to make than is a fruitcake.  There is no need to soak the fruit in liquor for a day or two before making the cake.  Essentially, the raisins, currants, glazed cherries, and mixed fruit are dredged with 1/2 cup of the flour just before they are added to the batter to prevent them from dropping to the bottom of the cake during baking. I like to add some grated orange and lemon rind for extra flavour.

The butter should be softened at room temperature (not microwaved) for about 45 minutes or so before creaming.  Microwaving the butter changes its consistency and it is more liquified.  Butter that is softened naturally at room temperature is much creamier and fluffs better when beaten with the sugar. Yes, that lovely fluffy texture of the butter and sugar is what results in a soft even crumb in cakes.

The eggs and milk should be at room temperature for about 30 minutes or so before mixing in to the batter.  The eggs need to be at roughly the same room temperature as the butter. If the eggs are cold and hit the soft warm butter, guess what? The eggs harden the butter again and this will un-do all the lovely creaming that has been done and will affect the cake’s texture, creating a dense hard crumb.  The same holds true for the milk which also needs to be at room temperature to allow it to blend smoothly into the butter-sugar-egg mixture.  Ever see cold milk poured into the cake batter that immediately looks lumpy or curdled?  This can result in uneven baked products.

Sultana Cakes are traditionally made in round baking pans.  My recipe calls for a 10″ round tube (funnel) pan that is 4″ deep. It has a 16-cup capacity so there is adequate room for the cake to expand as it bakes. Tube pans are great for dense cakes as they provide more uniform baking.  With dense cakes, like Sultana Cake, it is sometimes difficult to get the outer edges of the cake and the center evenly baked at the same time. Removing the “center” of the cake eliminates this problem. Some pans have a removable bottom and these are very useful when it comes to removing the cake from the pan.  I line the bottom of the pan with a layer of parchment and then spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray.

Placing a small pan of water on the bottom shelf, or floor, of the oven while the cake bakes helps to keep the cake moist. If the cake starts to brown too much, loosely tent it with tin foil.

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake

Unlike a fruitcake that needs to age three to four weeks before serving so flavours are deepened, a Sultana Cake does not need to age. That said, I usually do wrap and leave my Sultana Cake for 48-72 hours before cutting.

This is a delightful anytime cake although I often make it around Christmas.  It’s a perfect alternative for anyone who finds fruitcake just a little too rich for their palate. It’s especially nice with a lovely cup of tea.

This cake freezes very well.

Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake
[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Sultana Cake

Ingredients:

1 lb sultana raisins
¼ lb currants
8 oz red and green glazed cherries
8 oz. mixed glazed fruit

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1¾ cups brown sugar packed
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon flavoring
1½ tsp grated orange rind
1½ tsp grated lemon rind

3½ cups all-purpose flour (reserve ½ cup for dredging the fruit)
1¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt

1 cup milk, room temperature

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 4” deep 10” round tube (funnel) pan with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper.

In large bowl, mix the raisins, currants, glazed cherries, and mixed fruit.  Dredge with ½ cup of the flour called for in the recipe.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat at medium-high speed for one additional minute. Add the vanilla and lemon flavoring and mix well. Add the grated orange and lemon rind. Mix well.

Sift remaining 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat at medium-high speed for 1 additional minute. Add the floured fruit mixture and stir just until ingredients are combined.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, using knife to smooth top.  Place small pan of hot water on lower shelf, or floor, of oven to provide moisture to the cake as it bakes.  Bake cake in center of middle rack for approximately 2½ hours or until cake tester inserted in or near centre of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for about 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper.  Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.

Yield:  One 10” round cake

Sultana Cake

Less sweet than a fruitcake, this Sultana Cake, enhanced with glazed fruit, is moist and flavorful.
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sultana raisins
  • ¼ lb currants
  • 8 oz red and green glazed cherries
  • 8 oz. mixed glazed fruit
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cups brown sugar, packed
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon flavoring
  • tsp grated orange rind
  • tsp grated lemon rind
  • cups all-purpose flour (reserve ½ cup for dredging the fruit)
  • tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 4” deep 10” round tube (funnel) pan with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, mix the raisins, currants, glazed cherries, and mixed fruit. Dredge with ½ cup of the flour called for in the recipe. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat at medium-high speed for one additional minute. Add the vanilla and lemon flavoring and mix well. Add the grated orange and lemon rind. Mix well.
  4. Sift remaining 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat at medium-high speed for 1 additional minute. Add the floured fruit mixture and stir just until ingredients are combined.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan, using knife to smooth top. Place small pan of hot water on lower shelf, or floor, of oven to provide moisture to the cake as it bakes. Bake cake in center of middle rack for approximately 2½ hours or until cake tester inserted in or near centre of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for about 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper. Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.

 

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Christmas Cake
Sultana Cake
Christmas Cake
Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake
Sultana Cake, so named because sultana raisins are a key ingredient, is a lovely moist cake that is a cross between a warcake and a fruitcake.
Sultana Cake

An Autumn Savoury Tea

As I write this post, it’s autumn – the days are shorter and cooler and leaves are off the trees, all signs that winter on PEI is not far off. This time of the year always makes me think of warm and cozy teas leisurely enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

Teatime
A Fireside Tea

My late day event today is what I’m calling a “savoury tea” – which, because of my menu choices, most closely resembles (but is not quite) a “high tea”. I’m drawing the menu from previous postings to my food blog so those interested in the food items can access my recipes by clicking on the hotlinks throughout this posting.

Some people refer to the traditional afternoon tea of dainty (and always crustless) sandwiches, scones, and an array of sweets as “high tea” (which it isn’t). I’m not sure why this happens – perhaps it is because the food is often served on a tall (hence “high”) three-tier server (pictured below), or curate stand, along with fancy cups and saucers on the table or it may be because the mere mention of afternoon tea evokes the notion that it is a “high” society event. In any event there is a distinction between a “high tea” and an “afternoon tea” (the latter sometimes referred to as a “low tea”).

Three-tier Server
Three-tier Server

Originally, afternoon teas consisted of light refreshments served on low tables like coffee tables, for example. The idea of an afternoon tea was to have some refreshments, mid-afternoon, to counter the sluggishness often experienced in the afternoon and to stave off the hunger until dinner was served later in the evening. Partakers would often be seated in comfy armchairs as opposed to formal dining chairs and would use the low tables upon which to set their cup and saucer and refreshments. In fact, some high-end hotels in London serve afternoon tea in the surroundings of their lobbies and, indeed, comfortable armchairs and sofas are still used along with low coffee tables. Today, however, the traditional afternoon tea is most often served at regular height tables. What characterizes a traditional afternoon tea are crustless finger sandwiches, scones, sweets and, of course, tea.

High tea, on the other hand, is more like a light supper featuring hot menu items which are most frequently served at a regular height table. Foods denoting a high tea might include egg dishes like quiches, and/or dishes that include meat and fish. Bread or biscuits would most commonly be served but less likely sandwiches if hot savoury dishes are part of the menu. And, of course, there would indeed be tea! High teas, then, tend to be comprised of more substantial fare and are typically served later in the afternoon or early evening as in the case of mine today. For those who watch the British soap opera, Coronation Street, you’ll often hear the characters invite others “round for tea” – it’s “high tea” or supper they are referring to in this context. (Yes, I’m a “Corrie” fan!)

Because of the choice of menu items I am serving, my savoury tea is, therefore, most similar (but not quite identical) to a “high tea” versus an “afternoon tea”.

A Savoury Tea
A Savoury Tea

The Table

I was fortunate enough to find an antique Gibbard tea trolley, in relatively decent condition, a few years ago and it is, indeed, handy. I love to use it for displays in my dining room and, because it has a double drop leaf, it often serves as my tea table when it is just tea for two. It’s the perfect size to hold all the tea elements and is easily wheeled to whatever location in the house I choose for the tea. (I am still on the hunt for a Roxton maple tea trolley in excellent condition to match my dining room set so, if anyone on PEI has one they are interested in parting with, or knows someone who does, please get in touch!)

Tea Trolley
Tea Trolley

The Linens

The tablecloth square on my tea table is one I bought in Burano on my last trip to Italy. Yes, when I’m looking for mementos of trips, my interests usually veer toward tabletop items and foods local to the area!

The Tea Table is Set
The Tea Table is Set

Napkin folds for tea tables tend to lean toward basic, classic designs, much like the simple triangular fold I’ve chosen here. Most often, the folds tend to be flat designs as opposed to stand-up folds and the napkins are usually plain in color.

Simple Teatime Napkin Fold
Simple Teatime Napkin Fold

The Flowers

I like to include fresh flowers on my tea tables. They don’t have to be anything more elaborate than a simple bouquet of mini carnations. The arrangement, however, does need to be proportionately sized. Floral arrangements for tea tables are typically quite small, especially if it is a tea table set for two. Using a single color and variety of flower keeps the look simple and uncluttered.

Bouquet of Mini White Carnations for the Tea Table
Bouquet of Mini White Carnations for the Tea Table

Dishes and Glassware

Sometimes, it’s nice to use a formal tea set or pieces from formal china for tea settings. Matching pieces do lend an air of formality and cohesiveness to the setting. However, it’s totally acceptable to have a mix of dishes on the tea table so long as they coordinate in style and color.

Always use small tea-sized plates, or supper plates, for tea events. Small portions of food characteristic of tea fare just look better on small plates as the food does not appear so minuscule and “lost” as it would on a large dinner plate, for example. These pink design plates were a thrift shop find.

Tea Plate
Tea Plate

From my collection, I have simply chosen two different teacups and saucers that I particularly like. They both have pink designs to compliment the plates.

Teacup and Saucer
Teacup and Saucer

Both cups have wonderful designs inside and outside.

China Teacup and Saucer
China Teacup and Saucer

The teapot, a Sadler, also has a pink theme. The pink shades coordinate with the salmon pink shade highlighted in the tablecloth.

Sadler Teapot
Sadler Teapot

I found these little pedestal glasses with cranberry trim at a second-hand shop and knew they would be perfectly sized for tea tables. They lend an air of elegance and color to the table.

Cranberry Glass
Cranberry Glass

I adore my three-tier servers! They give an air of elegance and sophistication to any tea table. Plus, they are super useful and an efficient way to serve the food. All the food items can be brought to the table at once on one unit, taking up less space as tea tables tend to be small and compact. Sandwiches/savoury items go on the bottom tier, scones/biscuits on the middle tier, followed by the tempting sweet treats on the top tier.

The Menu

So, here is what is on my five-course savoury tea menu.

~ Starter ~

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares

~ Savoury ~

Harvest Quiche

Baked Stuffed Fingerlings

Mini Lobster Cakes

~ Biscuits ~

Biscuits served with lemon curd and preserves

~ Sweet Offerings ~

Dark and Light Fruitcake

Frypan Cookie Balls

Gluten Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

Gluten Free Melting Moments

~ Dessert ~

Luscious Lemon Curd Tartlets

~ Tea ~

Fortnum and Mason’s “Afternoon Tea” blend

The traditional order in which to consume tea foods are sandwiches/savouries first, followed by the scones/biscuits, and ending with the sweets. So, let’s take a closer look at the menu items.

Starter Course

For the starter course, I’m serving my homemade cream of roasted tomato soup with tiny squares of grilled cheese.

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares

In keeping with the small portion size conducive to tea serving size, I’m serving the soup in small soup cups and threading the grilled cheese squares on to a skewer.

Cup of Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares
Cup of Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Squares

Savoury Course

For the savoury course, I have selected three hot items – mini harvest quiches, baked stuffed fingerlings, and mini lobster cakes. By clicking on the foregoing hotlinks, you can access my recipes. I will often plan ahead for tea events when I am doing my batch cooking for the freezer. In this case, I made some mini quiches and lobster cakes earlier and had them frozen. This allows me to add some variety to my tea events that I probably might not otherwise have if I had to mix up special small batches especially for a tea event.

Mini Harvest Quiche
Mini Harvest Quiche

The fingerlings are stuffed with sausage, cheese, tomato sauce, and seasonings and are tasty little bites.

Baked Stuffed Fingerlings
Baked Stuffed Fingerlings

Living on PEI, lobster fishing is one of our main fisheries so, naturally, I am going to include it in some fashion on my menu. The small lobster cakes are served with a small dob of sour cream.

Mini Lobster Cake
Mini Lobster Cake

Keep the size portions small – they can be the same size as appetizers/hors d’oeuvres or very slightly larger. For example, I use the small individual tart shells for the mini quiches because I like the look of a complete, uncut quiche for each serving. If using pieces cut from a larger quiche, I recommend making the quiche in a small quiche/pie plate 6” – 8” in diameter, no larger.

Biscuits Course

Because this is a savoury tea, I am swapping out the traditional scones associated with afternoon tea and am replacing them with biscuits. I currently have two biscuit recipes on my food blog –  classic tea biscuits and whole wheat biscuits.  Either works well with this type of tea.

Homemade Biscuits
Homemade Biscuits

Biscuits are less sweet and rich than scones and I think they go better with my savoury tea. That doesn’t mean, however, that lemon curd and preserves can’t be enjoyed with biscuits!  It’s a great way to transition the palate from the savoury course to the sweets!

Lemon Curd, Jam, and Marmalade
Lemon Curd, Jam, and Marmalade

I have made a batch of my lemon curd to enjoy with the biscuits. Sometimes, I will use small dishes for the preserves but, if I have the small jars, I will often use them because I like the look of the tiny jars clustered together on a server plate!

Sweets Course

Fruitcake is often (but not always) found on tea tables. I am including both my light fruitcake  and dark fruitcake, cut into small pieces. Fruitcakes are rich and are best served in small pieces (and they go particularly well with a fine cup of tea). Two kinds of cookies – Gluten Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread and Gluten Free Melting Moments are also included along with Frypan Cookie Balls.

Tea Time Sweets
Sweets on the Tea Table

Desserts Course

This is an optional course because, really, the sweets themselves are generally sufficient.  However, a nice touch is to add one special signature dessert.  With my fresh batch of lemon curd, a luscious lemon curd tartlet was an obvious choice.  I added some bright red raspberries for contrast along with a sprig of greenery.

Luscious Lemon Curd Tartlet
Luscious Lemon Curd Tartlet

Tea Selection

My tea selection is one of my personal all-time favorites – Fortnum & Mason’s “Afternoon Tea” blend which I brought home from my latest trip to London.  When in London, I always try to make time for a stop at Fortnum & Mason’s flagship store on Piccadilly to browse through their food halls and to pick up some of their tea. This tea from Ceylon is crisp and refreshing yet full bodied so it goes equally  well with a savoury tea as it does with a traditional afternoon tea.

Fortnum and Mason's "Afternoon Tea" Blend
Fortnum and Mason’s “Afternoon Tea” Blend

I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to go out for afternoon tea but, unfortunately, where I live, there are no restaurants or hotels that offer this option. I think that’s why, when I’m in London, I allot time for 1-2 afternoon teas which are always a highlight of my visits. I often agonize over which ones to choose because there are so many wonderful options. I have written postings on three I particularly enjoyed and you can access those by clicking on the following links:  Afternoon Tea in London and “Scents of Summer” Afternoon Tea in London.

Tea time can be elaborate or simplified and, with some planning, can be made in to an event for entertaining family and friends at home. You’ll find inspiration for tea events of all sorts here on my blog. Simply go to the “Afternoon Teas” menu or type “Afternoon Tea” in the search box on the home page.

An Autumn Savoury Tea

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake Recipe

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

This posting contains my newly-developed recipe for gluten free light fruitcake.

This cake is so tasty that it’s hard to tell it is actually gluten free!  The flours I use in this recipe are the one-to-one gluten free flour along with almond flour and coconut flour that add lovely flavour and texture to the cake batter.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

As always, ensure that all ingredients (not just the flours) called for in the recipe are indeed gluten free and have not been cross contaminated with products containing gluten.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

Rather than rewrite all the tips I have for making fruitcakes, I am directing readers to my previous postings for dark fruitcake and light fruitcake. While these two recipes are for regular fruitcakes that are not gluten free, the tips I have provided in those postings apply equally to this gluten free version of a fruitcake.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Light Fruitcake

Ingredients:

¼ lb golden sultana raisins
1½ oz green glazed cherries
2½ oz red glazed cherries
1½ oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
3 oz mixed glazed fruit
2 tbsp citron
3 tbsp brandy
3 tbsp flaked coconut
½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
½ tsp finely grated orange rind

¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
¼ tsp pure vanilla
¼ tsp almond flavoring
¼ tsp lemon flavoring
3 tbsp applesauce

¾ cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
1½ tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp zanthan gum
Pinch salt

1½ tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp brandy

Few glazed cherries for cake top decoration (optional)
Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Method:

In medium-sized bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well.  Stir in the three tablespoons of brandy to coat the fruit.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind.  Stir well.

Prepare 6-inch square fruitcake pan that is at least 2¼” deep and has a removable bottom:  Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper.  Lightly spray the paper.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

In medium-sized bowl, and using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Separate eggs and set aside the whites. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings.  Stir in the applesauce.

Remove 3 tbsp of the one-to-one gluten free flour from the ¾-cup called for in the recipe and set aside to flour the fruit.  Sift the remaining one-to-one gluten free flour, almond flour, and coconut flour together with the baking powder, zanthan gum, and salt.

In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the two tablespoons of brandy.

Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter-sugar-egg mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Transfer batter to a larger bowl, big enough to accommodate the amount of fruit to be added.

Sprinkle reserved 3 tablespoons of the one-to-one gluten free flour over the macerated fruit to which the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind have been added. Toss ingredients lightly and quickly.  Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.

In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan.  Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top.  Add a few glazed cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.

Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven.  Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 1¼ – 1½ hours, or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about 35-40 minutes or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. When cake is baked, remove from oven and place on rack.  Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on to a tea towel and removing the paper.  Carefully turn the cake, top side up, on to a wire cooling rack.

Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area.  Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks, as the cake “ages”, before cutting and serving. After cake has aged 2-3 weeks, it is recommended to refrigerate the cake or, if not using in near future, freeze it.

Yield:  1 – 2 lb cake (apx. weight)

NOTE:  As always, ensure that all ingredients used in the recipe are, in fact, gluten free.

Gluten Free Light Fruitcake Recipe

Yield: 1 - 2 lb cake (apx. weight)

A gluten free light fruitcake that is studded with a mixture of brandy-soaked glazed fruit baked within a batter made with gluten free one-to-one flour, almond flour, and coconut flour.

Ingredients

  • ¼ lb golden sultana raisins
  • 1½ oz green glazed cherries
  • 2½ oz red glazed cherries
  • 1½ oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
  • 3 oz mixed glazed fruit
  • 2 tbsp citron
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 3 tbsp flaked coconut
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • ½ tsp finely grated orange rind
  • ¼ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond flavoring
  • ¼ tsp lemon flavoring
  • 3 tbsp applesauce
  • ¾ cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
  • 1½ tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp zanthan gum
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • Few glazed cherries for cake top decoration (optional)
  • Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well. Stir in the three tablespoons of brandy to coat the fruit. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind. Stir well.
  2. Prepare 6-inch square fruitcake pan that is at least 2¼” deep and has a removable bottom: Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  4. In medium-sized bowl, and using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Separate eggs and set aside the whites. Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings. Stir in the applesauce.
  5. Remove 3 tbsp of the one-to-one gluten free flour from the ¾-cup called for in the recipe and set aside to flour the fruit. Sift the remaining one-to-one gluten free flour, almond flour, and coconut flour together with the baking powder, zanthan gum, and salt.
  6. In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the two tablespoons of brandy.
  7. Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter-sugar-egg mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Transfer batter to a larger bowl, big enough to accommodate the amount of fruit to be added.
  8. Sprinkle reserved 3 tablespoons of the one-to-one gluten free flour over the macerated fruit to which the coconut and grated lemon and orange rind have been added. Toss ingredients lightly and quickly. Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.
  9. In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
  10. Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan. Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top. Add a few glazed cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.
  11. Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven. Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 1¼ - 1½ hours, or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about 35-40 minutes or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. When cake is baked, remove from oven and place on rack. Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on to a tea towel and removing the paper. Carefully turn the cake, top side up, on to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area. Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks, as the cake “ages”, before cutting and serving. After cake has aged 2-3 weeks, it is recommended to refrigerate the cake or, if not using in near future, freeze it.

Notes

NOTE: As always, ensure that all ingredients used in the recipe are, in fact, gluten free.

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Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake
Gluten Free Light Fruitcake studded with glazed fruit and flavored with brandy

Festive Light Fruitcake Recipe

One of my favorite foods to make is the traditional fruitcake – both dark and light versions.  And, I adore the scent in my home as the cakes bake.  As I write this post, this is my 40th year making fruitcakes – where does the time go!  I don’t make both dark and light every year. Rather, I make a dark cake one year then, the following year, make a light cake.

Christmas Cake
Light Fruitcake

My Christmas season begins in early November when the first thing done to prepare for the holidays is to make the fruitcake.  Fruitcakes do well with some “ageing” before they are cut – about 3 weeks is the minimum they should age. This period allows the flavors to blend well and the cake to moisten which, of course, is always aided by a brushing of a weekly “nightcap” of whatever liquor is used in the cake.  I tend to put rum in my dark cakes and brandy in the light fruitcakes.  This libation not only helps to keep the cake moist but it also infuses flavor into the cake as it ages.

Christmas Cake
Light Fruitcake

Apart from their lighter color, light fruitcakes tend to be less rich and not quite as sweet as their dark counterparts.  The wonderful thing about light fruitcakes is that the light-colored batter allows the jewel-toned glazed fruit to show well.  Light fruitcake is both a flavorful and colorful addition to any holiday sweet tray.

Fruitcake
Light Fruitcake

When I posted my recipe awhile back for my dark fruit cake, I offered several tips and hints on how to make fruitcakes.  You can access that information by clicking here. The same tips and hints apply to light fruitcakes.

My version of a light fruitcake is nut-free. I find nuts can sometimes go rancid and can interfere with the nice soft texture of the fruitcake so I have long since dispensed with them in my cakes. As well, for any one with an allergy to nuts, a fruitcake with nuts would be off limits.

Christmas Cake
Jewel-toned Light Fruitcake

[Printable version of recipe follows at end of posting]

Light Fruit Cake

Ingredients:
1 lb golden sultana raisins
6 oz green glazed cherries
6 oz red glazed cherries
4 oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
¾ lb mixed glazed fruit
¼ lb citron
½ cup brandy
¾ cup flaked coconut
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tsp finely grated orange rind

1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1½ cup white sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 tsp almond flavoring
1 tsp lemon flavoring
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained very well (reserve ¼ cup of the juice)

3¾ cups all-purpose flour (set aside 1 cup of the flour to flour the fruit mixture)
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup pineapple juice (from the drained crushed pineapple)

Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Method:
In large bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well.  Stir in the brandy to coat the fruit.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and lemon and orange rind.  Stir well.

Prepare 8-inch square fruitcake pan that is 3 inches deep and has a removable bottom:  Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper.  Lightly spray the paper.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

In large bowl of stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings.  Stir in the drained crushed pineapple.

Sift together 2¾ cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the reserved ¼ cup of pineapple juice.

Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter and sugar mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Transfer batter to a very large bowl.

Sprinkle reserved cup of flour over the macerated fruit and toss ingredients lightly and quickly.  Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.

In clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan.  Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top.  Add a few cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.

Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven.  Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 5 – 5¼ hours or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about an hour or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. Remove cake from oven and place on rack.  Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper.  Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.

Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area.  Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks as the cake “ages” before cutting and serving.

Yield:  1 – 6 lb, 6½ oz cake

Light Fruitcake

Yield: 1 – 6 lb, 6½ oz cake

A wonderful jewel-toned light fruitcake full of flavor and mixed fruit. (Cake is nut-free)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb golden sultana raisins
  • 6 oz green glazed cherries
  • 6 oz red glazed cherries
  • 4 oz glazed pineapple rings, chopped
  • ¾ lb mixed glazed fruit
  • ¼ lb citron
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ¾ cup flaked coconut
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1½ cup white sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp lemon flavoring
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, drained very well (reserve ¼ cup of the juice)
  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour (set aside 1 cup of the flour to flour the fruit mixture)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice (from the drained crushed pineapple)
  • Extra brandy for brushing on cake as it ages and for soaking cheesecloth in which to wrap the cake

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, combine the raisins, cherries, glazed pineapple, mixed glazed fruit, and citron. Mix well. Stir in the brandy to coat the fruit. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. When ready to mix up the cake, add the coconut and lemon and orange rind. Stir well.
  2. Prepare 8-inch square fruitcake pan that is 3 inches deep and has a removable bottom: Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Line the pan (bottom and sides), with brown paper or double thickness of parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  4. In large bowl of stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure ingredients are all incorporated. Beat 1 additional minute. Beat in the vanilla, almond, and lemon flavorings. Stir in the drained crushed pineapple.
  5. Sift together 2¾ cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. In measuring cup or small bowl, combine the orange and lemon juices along with the reserved ¼ cup of pineapple juice.
  7. Add the dry and wet ingredients to the beaten butter and sugar mixture in three additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Transfer batter to a very large bowl.
  8. Sprinkle reserved cup of flour over the macerated fruit and toss ingredients lightly and quickly. Gently fold the fruit mixture into the batter.
  9. In clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
  10. Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan. Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top. Add a few cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.
  11. Place small pan of hot water on the lower rack in the oven. Place fruitcake in center of middle rack and bake for approximately 5 – 5¼ hours or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. After about an hour or so of baking, loosely tent cake with tin foil to prevent it from browning too much. Remove cake from oven and place on rack. Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan by inverting it on a tea towel and removing the paper. Carefully turn the cake top side up on to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Let cake cool completely before brushing well with brandy and wrapping in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil. Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area. Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with brandy once a week for 2-3 weeks as the cake “ages” before cutting and serving.
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Fruitcake
Festive Light Fruitcake

 

 

Christmas Cake
Light Fruitcake

Dark Fruitcake

Fruitcake
Dark Fruitcake

Fruitcakes. People either love them or loathe them and there seems to be no middle ground. I personally favour them and they are part of my annual Christmas traditions.

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Dark Fruitcake
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Dark Fruitcake

There are basically two kinds of fruitcakes, a light cake and a dark cake. The dark fruitcake is characterized by the addition of molasses, spices, and often strawberry jam, all of which contribute to its dark color.  The light fruit cake has a light-colored batter which makes the jewel tones of the glazed fruit pop.  It is, by far, the most colorful of the two cakes.  While I could not find any conclusive statistics, it seems to me that dark fruitcakes may perhaps be the more common.

Fruitcakes are sometimes called Christmas cakes since that’s often the only time of the year they make an appearance anymore. Years ago, however, fruitcake was a staple at weddings where the dark fruitcake was referred to as the groom’s cake while white pound cake was the bride’s cake. This tradition, at least where I live, has long since been dispensed with and replaced, instead, with many other cake flavor options.

I have been making fruitcakes for 38 years (I started making them when I was two! At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Or, maybe it’s the vapors from the joy juice I’ve been brushing on my fruitcake over the past several weeks talking!). Some years I make both dark and light fruitcakes and, other years, one or the other. I simply love the smell of a fruitcake baking in the oven on a cold November afternoon. I always make my fruitcake around Remembrance Day as that gives it lots of time to “ripen” and mellow before the holidays. The making of the fruitcake heralds the beginning of my holiday preparations.

Fruitcakes are still considered a luxurious treat by many because the ingredients can be costly and the cake is time-consuming to make. Sometimes it is even hard to find the big sticky raisins, often referred to as Lexia raisins, which are a signature ingredient in a traditional dark fruitcake.

Lexia Raisins (big sticky raisins)
Lexia Raisins (big sticky raisins)

Essentially, a fruit cake is a mixture of candied/glazed fruit, different kinds of raisins, and often nuts, all held together by a small amount of batter. Before I share my recipe for dark fruitcake at the end of this posting, I am going to share some hints and tips from my almost-40 years of making fruitcakes. I hope you will find them helpful.

Cake Shape

Traditionally, fruitcakes are either square or round-shaped and quite deep – at least 2½” – 3” deep. The pans should be ones that have removable bottoms as this makes it easy to remove the cake from the pan.  The pans below have been in my family for years and have held many fruitcakes.  They may be old and discolored but they do the trick!

Fruitcake pans
Fruitcake pans

Square cakes are infinitely easier to cut and plate more attractively than round cakes. With square pans, each piece can be cut to the same size and shape whereas, with round cakes, it is more difficult to get nice, even pieces from pie-shaped wedges. However, the shape of the cake is a personal preference and the cake will taste the same regardless of shape.

It is important to use the size of pan the recipe calls for as baking times have been tested for its size. Some bakers use loaf pans, 9”x13” shallow pans, or even muffin cups or soup cans in which to bake their fruit cakes. If changing a pan size from the one recommended by the recipe, remember that baking times will need to be adjusted accordingly as a more shallow or smaller cake will take less time than a deeper one to bake.

Soaking Fruit

Commonly, the glazed and dry fruit, including the raisins and currants, are soaked in liquor, with rum or brandy the most commonly used types of libation. Alternatively the fruit can be soaked in a fruit juice.

The purpose of soaking the fruit is three-fold:

1) To soften/plump the dried fruit – the raisins, in particular;
2) To add flavour to the cake; and
3) As a preservative (if using liquor) to extend the shelf life of the cake.

Some bakers soak the fruit for several months. I don’t find this necessary or that the cake has any significantly better flavour if made with fruit that has been soaked for months. I soak the fruit in a covered container for 24-48 hours, stirring it 3-4 times during the macerating process.

 

It is important to resist adding more liquor to the fruit soak than is called for in the recipe. Adding too much liquor will add too much liquid to the batter, making it too runny to hold the fruit from falling to the cake bottom.

Fruit and Nut Content

True traditional fruit cakes will have candied/glazed fruit, a mixture of raisins, and sometimes nuts. It is important that candied/glazed fruit be used and not, for example, fruit with a lot of liquid such as maraschino cherries which will add too much excess liquid to the batter.

Jeweled-toned Fruit
Jeweled-toned Fruit

Fruitcakes typically do contain nuts; however, my recipe below is nut-free. I find several issues with including nuts in a fruitcake:

1) Nuts, over the long term, can go rancid or, alternatively, be hard junks in an otherwise soft texture cake;
2) Chunks of nuts can make it difficult to cut the cake; and
3) Many people have nut allergies and cannot enjoy a piece of fruitcake made with nuts.

Fruitcake ingredients can be flexible which means substitute ingredients are perfectly acceptable so long as the overall weight content of the fruit that the recipe calls for is maintained. For example, my fruitcake recipe calls for 3 pounds of fruit and I have listed the weight content of each ingredient. If you don’t happen to like citron, for example, simply omit the 3 oz called for and replace it with another glazed fruit of the same weight. If you want to add some nuts to the cake, then reduce the amount of some other ingredient, such as raisins or glazed fruit, by the weight of the nuts you are adding.

Batter

A fruit cake batter is very thick and dense and contains very little flour content. Essentially, there is just enough batter to hold the ingredients together. The reason the batter needs to be thick (as opposed to runny) is that it needs to support the heavy fruit content and keep it suspended and distributed evenly throughout the cake. Otherwise, the fruit will fall to the bottom of the cake.

It is important to “flour” the fruit with a small amount of flour just before adding the fruit to the batter. This will also help to keep the fruit suspended throughout the cake.  You will want to do this quickly and not leave the floured fruit any length of time before adding it to the batter as the flour when combined with the glaze on the fruit can turn into a gummy mess, thus defeating the purpose of flouring the fruit.

Preparing the Pan

The pan needs to be greased or sprayed with cooking oil then lined with either brown paper or parchment paper, then greased/sprayed again. Because there is very little leavening in the cake and because it is a heavy, thick cake, the pan can be fairly well filled without risk of batter running over the top.

Decorating the Cake Top

There are many ways to decorate the top of a fruitcake and some are very elaborate and show-worthy. Some bakers completely cover the top of the cake with a lovely pattern of whole glazed cherries and/or nuts, topped with a glaze. Others decorate with just a few cherries/nuts. I sometimes do the latter but often leave it plain as it is easier to cut and plate.

Some bakers cover the cake with royal icing and marzipan. However, I find that the moisture from a dark fruit cake stains the icing making it less attractive.

Baking the Fruitcake

Baking is always the tricky part to fruitcake making. Fruitcakes need to be baked in slow ovens – i.e., 275ºF or less for several hours. Baking at too high a temperature will result in a dry cake. Bake the fruitcakes in the lower third of the oven and include a small pan of water on the shelf below the cake. The steam from the water will help to keep the cake moist as it bakes.

If the cake starts to darken too much before it is baked, loosely tent a piece of tin foil over the top of the cake. However, only do this if the cake top has completely set all over as, otherwise, the tin foil will stick to the cake and pull some of the batter away from it thus ruining the look of the cake top.

The cake is done when it is firm to the touch and a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the cake center comes out relatively clean but with some moisture on it. The cake should not, however, be doughy. I generally start testing my cake about ½ hour before its designated baking time is up, then check it at 15-minute intervals until it is done.  The blue cake tester in the photo below is actually a cake thermometer.  If the tip of the thermometer turns bright red after having been inserted into the center of the cake for 5 seconds, the cake is done.

Cake Testers
Cake Testers

Cool the cake for about 40 minutes before carefully removing it from the pan and transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. Because a fruit cake is a dense cake, this will take several hours or overnight.

Storing and Mellowing/Ripening the Cake

Once the cake has cooled, I brush a light coating of rum or brandy – whatever I have used in the cake – all over the cake. This adds more flavour and helps to maintain the cake’s moisture.

I then wrap the cake in cheesecloth (which can also be soaked in liquor) followed by a double layer of plastic wrap and double of tin foil.

The cake is then placed in a sealed bag and stored it in a cool, dry place to mellow or ripen, a process of time that allows the cake’s flavours to mix and mingle. I leave the cake stored at a very cool room temperature for 3-4 weeks, giving it a weekly nightcap by brushing another coating of the liquor all over the cake and re-wrapping it. After letting the cake mellow, I remove the cheesecloth and keep the cake wrapped in plastic wrap and tin foil inside a sealed bag and store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. It’s important to let the cake ripen first at cool room temperature as it won’t mellow further once refrigerated or frozen.

Slicing the Cake

I find the fruitcake slices easier from the refrigerator than at room temperature as it is a bit firmer when chilled. I recommend using a sharp, flat-edged knife to cut the cake as a serrated knife, for example, may pull the fruit during cutting, creating a ragged, uneven edge.

Making the first cut!
Making the first cut!

I cut each slab, across the full width of the cake, a good ½” wide. It needs to be a good width in order for it to hold together as it is being sliced.

DSC07723-001

For suggested serving size, I recommend slicing each slab into pieces that are about 1¼” wide.

 

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Dark Fruitcake

Ingredients:

7 oz seeded raisins (i.e., Lexia)
7 oz golden raisins
7 oz cup sultana raisins
3 oz dates, chopped
2 oz currants
9 oz mixed glazed fruit
4 oz red glazed cherries
4 oz green glazed cherries
3 oz citron
2 oz mixed peel
⅔ cup rum
½ cup flour

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp mace
½ tsp nutmeg

½ lb butter
¼ cup white sugar
1½ cups brown sugar
4 extra large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond flavouring
2½ tbsp molasses
½ cup strawberry jam

Method:

Measure fruit and transfer to a large bowl. Mix well. Pour ⅔ cup of rum over fruit. Stir to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for  24-48 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally.

Prepare 8-inch square fruitcake pan that is 3 inches deep and has a removable bottom: Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Line the pan, bottom and sides, with brown paper or parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.

Preheat oven to 275°F.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Sifted Dry Ingredients
Sifted Dry Ingredients

Using the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.

Add the white sugar. Beat. Add the brown sugar and beat well, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure sugar is all incorporated.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the vanilla and almond flavouring followed by the molasses. Mix thoroughly. Mix in the strawberry jam.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined into batter. Transfer batter to very large bowl. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of flour (listed above in first set of ingredients) over the macerated fruit and toss ingredients lightly and quickly.

Add the floured fruit to the batter and mix thoroughly.

Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan. Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan.

Add a few cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.

Place a small pan of water on the lower shelf in the oven. Bake fruitcake in lower third of the oven for about 5¾ hours or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on rack. Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan and letting rest on cooling rack.

Let cake cool completely before brushing with rum and wrapping in cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil, then storing in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area. Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with rum once a week. For best flavour, let cake “age” for at least 3-4 weeks before cutting and serving.

Yield: 1 – 6 lb cake

Fruitcake
Dark Fruitcake

 

Dark Fruitcake

Tips and a recipe for making a delicious and traditional dark fruitcake flavored with rum and packed full of fruit. This cake is nut free.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 7 oz seeded raisins i.e., Lexia
  • 7 oz golden raisins
  • 7 oz cup sultana raisins
  • 3 oz dates chopped
  • 2 oz currants
  • 9 oz mixed glazed fruit
  • 4 oz red glazed cherries
  • 4 oz green glazed cherries
  • 3 oz citron
  • 2 oz mixed peel
  • cup rum
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp mace
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ lb butter
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • cups brown sugar
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond flavouring
  • tbsp molasses
  • ½ cup strawberry jam

Instructions

  1. Measure fruit and transfer to a large bowl. Mix well. Pour ⅔ cup of rum over fruit. Stir to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand for about 24 hours to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally.
  2. Prepare 8-inch square fruitcake pan that is 3 inches deep and has a removable bottom: Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Line the pan, bottom and sides, with brown paper or parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  5. Using the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the white sugar. Beat. Add the brown sugar and beat well, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure sugar is all incorporated.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond flavouring followed by the molasses. Mix thoroughly. Mix in the strawberry jam.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined into batter. Transfer batter to very large bowl.
  8. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of flour over the macerated fruit and toss ingredients lightly and quickly. Add the floured fruit to the batter and mix thoroughly. Transfer batter by large spoonfuls into the prepared baking pan. Use a knife to evenly spread the batter in the pan. Add a few cherries as decorations to the top of the cake, if desired.
  9. Place a small pan of water on the lower shelf in the oven. Bake fruitcake in lower third of the oven for about 5¾ hours or until cake is firm to the touch and cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on rack. Let cake cool in pan for about 40 minutes before carefully removing from pan and letting rest on cooling rack.
  10. Let cake cool completely before brushing with rum and wrapping in cheesecloth, followed by plastic wrap and tin foil, then storing in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dry area. Remove wrapping and brush cake top and sides with rum once a week. Let cake “age” for at least 2-3 weeks before cutting and serving.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 1 - 6 lb cake

NOTE:  Be sure to read the entire posting that accompanies this recipe for tips on how to make the perfect fruit cake.

 

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Fruitcake
Dark Fruitcake
Fruitcake
Dark Fruitcake
Fruitcake
Dark Fruitcake

Anne of Green Gables-Themed Afternoon Tea

Today, I am joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage who is hosting an Anne of Green Gables-themed afternoon tea.  Many of you will, undoubtedly, associate both Anne and Lucy Maud Montgomery, the famed Island authoress of the “Anne” series of books, with Prince Edward Island.  As many of you will already know, Lucy Maud was an Islander and she set her fictional story about the little orphan, Anne, on PEI.

To the extent possible, I have tried to include elements in the tea that Anne and her bosom friend, Diana, would have had at the afternoon tea that Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote about in chapter XVI in the “Anne of Green Gables” book:  Raspberry cordial, cherry preserves, fruit cake, cookies, snaps, and tea.

I visited the Anne of Green Gables store in downtown Charlottetown this morning and picked up some raspberry cordial for the tea.

The other featured Island-made product at my tea today is the “Very Berry Cherry” jam produced by the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company in New Glasgow, PEI.

While biscuits weren’t mentioned as part of the menu for the tea in the “Anne” story, I’d be surprised if they were not standard fare at an afternoon tea of that era, particularly when preserves were included.  Homemade biscuits are still a very common staple today in many Island households, mine included.  Therefore, I have chosen to serve my homemade biscuits with the cherry jam.

I always tuck away a piece of my Christmas fruit cake in the freezer.  It is such a treat in late summer or early fall.  It made its way on to the tea table today along with some freshly made gingersnaps and melting moments, all of which would have been quite common tea fare back in the early 1900s when L.M. Montgomery was penning the “Anne” books.  As I went through some of my ancestors’ hand-written recipe books, these were indeed items they had recipes for in their collections.

And, of course, the guest of honour would have to be Anne, herself!  My mother gave me this collector’s doll for Christmas several years ago.

Anne looks like she might be eyeing those biscuits….perhaps it is time to eat.

This afternoon’s tea is Orange Pekoe and it is being served from my pretty pink and yellow rose Sadler teapot.

I am not sure Marilla would have trusted Anne and Diana with these delicate teacups but these were my choices from my teacup collection for today’s event.  The one below is Royal Albert Sunnyside Series and is called “Petula”.  I love the exquisite and elegant shape of the cup.

The beautiful cup and saucer below is also Royal Albert, Reverie Series.

Warm biscuits, not too many minutes out of the oven, are always so tasty!

And, with fresh creamery butter and a good slather of cherry jam, they melt in the mouth!

It’s hard to stop at just one homemade biscuit and jam!

Some fresh cherries before checking out the sweet tray.

Now, which will I try first?  The fruitcake?  A ginger snap? A melting moment?

Also on the tea table this afternoon is a Third Impression August 1908 version of the “Anne of Green Gables” book.  A great conversation piece.

I hope you have enjoyed coming along on my Anne-themed afternoon tea.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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