It has been more than 6 months since my last post, once again I disappeared into thin air without much explanation or warning… Poof, just like that, Rose was gone. My most sincere apology. 🙂 A lot of things happened during this period, some are bad, some are amazing, some are surprising, some are challenging, and some are awakening. But for now, in this joyful season, please let me first celebrate the present and wish you all a very, very, very Merry Christmas.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, YAY! >D< *Shouting at the top of my lungs*
Well, sorry for being a bit sugar-high but God helps me… This is just my utmost favorite holiday of the year!
OK, now, let’s be honest. Have you ever found yourself alone and helpless in the kitchen, found out that “Sh*t, I forgot dessert!” on the one and only Christmas Eve? And you are panicking “Darn, I did plan to bake this amazing Fruit cake recipe on first day of December but the dog got sick, and the kids on holiday break, and *this and that* (fill in by your incidents). I’m so screwed!”
There, there, worry not! Rose is to the rescue. Christmas is a season of giving, and of course I didn’t come back empty-handed. This year, for my wonderful friends and faithful readers, I proudly present to you Rose’s Last-minute Christmas Fruitcake. This wonderful version of fruit cake dedicates to all busy bakers that were so caught up in chaos of the season out there… (Or for some like myself, I’m just downright lazy.). This is one cake that is so good that it would be complete evil to bake it just during Christmas. But sorry folks, I’m wired that way. 😉
Ehem, sorry for interrupting your sheer enthusiasm, Rose. One tiny concern, what is a Fruitcake?
Fruit Cake, as you can see above, is a traditional sweet for Christmas. It is filled with flavor-intensified dried fruits and nuts, soaked with alcohol and let aged over several weeks. It is then often covered with marzipan and royal icing and served throughout the season. Simply the best!
But, but, Rose, is it the 24th already and you said it take several weeks to age properly?
Hmm, very good point… You are right, there are 2 problems with fruitcakes made by traditional methods. It is expensive to make and it needs time (hell lots of it) to taste perfectly as it should be. But hmm, I did type “Last-minute” did I?
Before I tackle the tiny time issue, let’s make something clear about the expensiveness. Guys, common, It is Christmas, for crying out loud. If there were a legal time for spendthrift, this would be it. And trust me, no money can buy the brightening eyes and the “wow, this is what I’ve been waiting for!” of your guests and family dearests when you present this masterpiece for dessert. Just. Buy. The. Best. Ingredients. Out. There. All. Of. Them. Please. Exclamation point!
Ok, to the main point, timing! Luckily for us (you busy bakers and me lazy gal), there is a much simpler and way faster version of this cake, known as: Boiled Fruit Cake, War Cake,or Bachelor’s Cake. I call it the Last-minute Fruit Cake, and I love it to bits. Why? Because it still hold all the essences of a fruit cake: candied fruits, dried fruits, nuts, spices (oh how I love the smell of warm cinnamon and vanilla in a cold morning), the moistness, the deep and complex combination between sweet, tangy the boozy. And yet, it beats the traditional in a way that the batter is so easy to make and you don’t need to pull out your stand mixer, at all. Most importantly, it can be eaten almost right away.
Disclaimer: This is one hell of a super-calorie-rich bake, so you’d better get lost of your scale and set health-consciousness aside before further reading and consuming. But hey, how many time per year do we have Christmas? And if you have been striving hard and eating healthy for the whole year (or if you haven’t) how big a difference could one slide of this festive, wonderful cake could make? (Though I admit, it requires quite lots of conviction to stop at singular). To ease my own mind, I like to think of it as a luxury I grant myself for trying super hard this year and man, only victory would taste as awesome. 😀
Recipe (adapted from Joy of Baking)
Make: one 23 x 13 x 8 cm or two 20 x 7 x 7 cm loaves
- 200g (2 cup) mix of raisin/sultana + dried cranberry (I go for 1:1)
- 150g (1 cup) diced mix fruit of candied orange (or other citrus) peel, candied cherry, dried apricot, pineapple, apple, so on and so forth. In short, I went wild with all the fruit and peel I have in my pantry following no particular proportion. 😛 (see below)
- 90g (1/2 cup) brown sugar (I half the sugar from the original recipe, as a thumb rule since I prefer less sweet cake, but go for full load if mine is too mild for you)
- 55g (1/4 cup) butter
- ½ tsp. salt
- 240ml (1 cup) hot water
- 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp. ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp. clove powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. good rum
- 195g flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 50g nut, roasted and coarsely chopped (my fav. are mixture of walnut, hazelnut, macadamia, cashew and pecan when I have it at hand)
- glazed cherry half for decoration
- ½ cup or more of the best rum/brandy you can lay your hand on, for soaking
Step 1: In a large pan, over medium heat, bring to a boil all ingredients in Mix 1: sugar, water, butter, spices, salt, and fruits.
Boil for five minutes, then remove from heat.
You can see that the volume of the dried fruit has improved quite a lot. This is the secret to the moistness of this recipe. By boiling them with water, we are doing the exact same thing as soaking them in spirit and let aged, only this way it is much, much faster. 🙂
Step 2: While waiting, butter one 23 x 13 x 8 cm or two 20 x 7 x 7 loaf pans, then dust with flour to prevent sticking.
Sift the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl.
Preheat the oven to 175 degree C.
Step 3: Stir Mix 2 into the warm fruit mixture, including eggs, vanilla extract, and rum.
Step 4: Add flour, baking soda (sifted) in 2 additions.
Stir until just combine and trace of white flour is invisible. Add the nuts.
Step 5: Pour into your prepared pan decorated with halved cherries and blanch almond (if any)
Step 6: Bake in preheated oven for 50 -65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Step 7: After cooling, soak the loaf with rum or brandy by gradually drizzle that golden liquid all over the cake surface.
Step 8: Cover and store, if possible, for a few days before serving. You can soak in more brandy if time allows. It is as good as it can be, consumed immediately, but it also ages beautifully like traditional fruit cakes, depending on your timing and patience, I supposed. 😉
Step 9: on D-day (oh my bad, C-day :D), cut it into thin slices (with sole purpose to prevent yourself from overeating, that’s all), and enjoy…
Purely a bliss for this Christmas season!
I challenge you to stop at one slice. 🙂
Okey dokey, that’s that. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday, and with this little recipe, I wish for you and your beloved only the brightest and happiest…
Again, are you ready?
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE, WOOHOO! *Bouncing around like a little kid, screaming*
If this is not a virtual platform, I probably deafen you by now, hehe.
Until next time,