This is a fairly classic fruit cake and makes a great Christmas gift or a rich, fruity, alcohol-laden treat for coffee and cake time* at some point during the holidays. The fruit/nut suggestions are entirely up to you; if you don’t have any dried apricots in the cupboard, but a hundred packets of dried cranberries then go ahead and use the cranberries! As long as you keep the quantities the same, everything will be fine. This year I used sultanas instead of the cherries and candied orange peel instead of the dried pineapple. Similarly, if you hate the taste of rum, then go ahead and use brandy. I personally would not use whiskey in this cake, but you could if you really wanted.
Ingredients: (makes one 8 inch cake)
- 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1/2 cup dried pineapple, chopped into pieces
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, chopped into pieces
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (you could use glace cherries if you want)
- 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped Brazil nuts
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons rum (or brandy), plus more for dousing
1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C. Grease and line the cake tin with parchment paper. Measure out the fruit and nuts and put in a bowl; set to one side. Sift into a different bowl the flour, baking powder and salt; set to one side.
2. In a third bowl put the butter and sugar and mix together (using a hand mixer on medium) until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating the mixture thoroughly after each egg is added. Add the vanilla extract and the rum/brandy.
3. Add the flour mix to the butter/sugar mix in two parts, mixing until just combined. Fold into this mix the fruit and nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
4. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (about 1 hour 45 mins – 2 hours, depending on your oven). If cake is browning too quickly, place a disc of parchment paper on top of the cake.
5. Cool the cake on a wire rack and then remove cake from the tin. Wrap the cake in cheesecloth or muslin and place in a storage container (such as tupperware). Douse with 1/4 cup of rum/brandy. Store in a cool, dark place, dousing weekly as before for at least a month before serving (or if you, like me, are a bit behind in your Christmas baking, douse with a couple of tablespoons every couple of days before serving).
*In Germany, coffee and cake at 4pm is a long-standing tradition (and not one I am likely to break any time soon!)