I asked my family for their opinion on what recipe I should offer up for this month’s column and I was given several options, but the best one was from my son. He said, “Mom give them a recipe for fruit cake. It’s traditional, but people should have an idea of what real fruit cake is and not some brick of awful that they buy at the store every year for a dollar.” So you are getting a traditional fruit cake recipe.
Now you have to be aware that this is not a cake for people that don’t allow alcohol in their homes. This cake is drenched in good booze. I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone that gets a hold of a piece of it does. (You don’t have to use the alcohol, but fruit cake is traditionally steeped in brandy.)
Kat’s Christmas Fruit Cake
- 1 pound butter, softened
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of fine salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Brandy
- ¼ cup good dark rum
- 2 cups chopped candied cherries
- ¼ cup chopped citron
- ½ cup chopped dates
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup walnut or pecan halves (you decide which you like better and use it).
- Begin by soaking cranberries in rum for an hour to plump them back up. (Don’t discard the rum), remove the cranberries from the rum and mix all the fruit together well. Add the nut and gently mix them in making sure not to break them up too much.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. (The butter will become a lighter yellow color; this is an important step, as the job of the mixer is to incorporate air into the butter so the cake will rise. It will take 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer.) Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Again, the times will vary, and butter will turn to a fluffy white.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow yolk disappears.
Add flour, (salt and baking powder mixed into it) to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. (The batter should be smooth and bits of flour should be well incorporated; to rid batter of lumps, stir gently with a rubber spatula.) Stir in extracts and the fruit mixture.
Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. (Use vegetable shortening or butter to grease the pan, getting every nook and cranny covered. Sprinkle a light coating of flour over the greased surface, tap and shake out the excess flour.)
Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. When cake cools soak it thoroughly with the rum and Brandy. You are the judge of how much of the booze you want to put on the cake. You’ll notice that this is a light cake not one of those dark heavy cakes. Let stand for 10 minutes, before wrapping in cheese cloth and sealing into an airtight container. I occasionally moisten the cake with more brandy and resealing the cake. If you eat this cake I recommend that you have a designated driver if you have to go anywhere.
You get a bonus this issue. I’m including a classic recipe remade for your Christmas morning breakfast. It’s easy to make ahead (the night before), and fabulous to eat after all the presents are unwrapped. I pull mine out of the fridge just before we open presents so the dough has time to relax before it goes into the oven. After the presents are open and the mess cleaned up, I put this in the oven and cook some sausage and or bacon, and scrambled eggs to go along with it. This is the easiest Cinnamon roll recipe you’ll make. Merry Christmas!
Cinnamon Roll Lasagna
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
- 2. In a large bowl, add the flour and cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives until well combined and mixture is crumbly. Stir in the buttermilk until a thick dough forms. Let rest in bowl while preparing the filling and glaze.
- 3. In a small bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter for the filling. Once melted, whisk in brown sugar and cinnamon until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
- 4. In a medium bowl, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth. Set aside.