First of all, if you actually want a fruitcake this year you are going to have to go out and buy it. It takes several days to make the cake and then it needs about a month to two months to “cure” … like concrete. Actually ageing is the more proper word in this case. In making your cake don’t think you have to adhere to any special recipe. It’s very simple, choose the fruits you like and bake your cake. It’s that simple – well kind of. Let’s start with the ingredients:
- ½ cup of fruits (your choice) – Pineapple, raisins apricots, dates, ginger. It’s your cake – go for it!
- 1 cup chopped of chopped cherries
- ½ cup of your favorite nuts – I like pecans – most people seem to prefer walnuts.
- ¾ – 1 cup of your favorite “spirit.” Rum seems to be the liquor of choice. I’ve waked into rooms where a Rum Fruitcake was featured and the smell alone got me drunk. If you don’t like hard spirits try your favorite wine. Inclined not to use liquor or wine? Try your favorite juice like apple or cranberry.
- A good cake mix
The thing to remember here is to take your time and do it in stages. First prepare your fruits and nuts by pouring your liquor (or juice) of choice over them and let the mixture sit covered for two or three days. This will ensure that the liquid is well absorbed into the fruit.
On the day you intend to bake the cake prepare your cake mix according to the instructions and add in your fruit and nut mixture.
The key to a successful fruit cake is to bake it ssslllooowww (slow)! Line the baking pan(s) with brown paper or wax paper. This will prevent the cake(s) from burning, remember you are going to bake for a lllooonnnggg (long) time. Here’s a Shay Gourmet Hint: Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to keep the cake from drying out.
Pre-heat oven to no higher than 325 degrees – lower the better. Do not go by baking times. Remember baking is chemistry and you’ve kind of changed the chemical make-up of the cake mix. Bake your cake to temperature. Test doneness by using a cake tester placed in the center of the cake. You want it to come out moist but not doughy.
Once the cake is finished baking let it cool. Turn it, the cake, out of the pan and carefully peel off the paper. Now you are going to store it away for aging – like a fine wine. Wrap the cake with cheese cloth, liberally brush or sprinkle your liquor (or juice) of choice that you used in this recipe. Seal the cake in plastic wrap or sealed container and once a week brush it with more liquor (or juice).
After about 4-8 weeks you are ready to go.
The cake will freeze very well but must age at least four weeks, longer is better.