Fruit Cake

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Fruit Cake

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Published prior to 2008

No, not THAT fruitcakeÖ This is a fruit- and nut-filled cake thatís tender, high-rising, and a real treat for those of you who donít really like "fruitcake," but who absolutely like dried fruit in their baked treats (think cranberry-orange muffins, panettone, oatmeal-raisin cookies...)

The original inspiration for this recipe came from "Cooking Light" magazine. We twisted and turned that recipe a million ways, but we thank them nonetheless for the idea to use prunes (er, dried plums) for added moisture and sweetness in this cake.

Cake
8 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) pitted prunes (dried plums)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) rum (or substitute water or apple juice)
1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 cup (6 ounces) candied red cherries
1 cup (5 ounces) dried apricots
1 cup (5 ounces) golden raisins
1 cup (4 ounces) diced pecans or walnuts
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
3/4 cup (6 ounces, 1 1/2 sticks) butter
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
11/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Glaze
1/4 cup (2 ounces) flavored syrup (cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, or your favorite complementary flavor)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) rum (or substitute additional flavored syrup)

Preheat the oven to 350įF. Lightly grease a 9" tube, angel food, or bundt-style pan.* The pan must hold at least 11 cups liquid, when measured right to the brim.

Place the prunes, 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons rum in a microwave-safe container. Cover, and microwave for about 5 minutes, till the liquid is bubbling. Remove from the microwave, and set aside for 10 minutes, till cooled a bit and the liquid is mostly absorbed.

Place the prunes (and any remaining liquid), pineapple chunks and their juice, cherries, and dried apricots in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly, just until the pineapple is shredded, and the other fruits are chopped. Stir in the raisins and nuts, and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter till smooth. Beat in the eggs, again beating till smooth. Add the spices, salt, and baking soda. Add the fruit mixture, scraping the bowl and stirring to combine. Add the flour, stirring till everything is well combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Place a 9" round cake pan, bottom side up, on top; youíre creating a lid for the tube pan, which will keep the cake nice and moist as it bakes.

Bake the cake for 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove it from the oven, and remove the cake-pan lid; the surface of the cake will be fairly tacky. Thatís OK; itíll firm up as it cools. Wait 10 minutes, then carefully turn the cake out of the pan onto a rack set over parchment or waxed paper.

Stir together the glaze ingredients, and brush all over the warm cake. Keep brushing till youíve used all the glaze. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting; itís best if you can wait overnight. Once itís completely cool, cover with a cake cover, or wrap in plastic.
Yield: 16 to 20 servings.

*Donít have a 9" pan? Use a 10" pan; the baking time may be a bit shorter. Also, if you donít have a 10" round cake pan to put on top (and not many of us do), make a tall "lid" out of aluminum foil, fastening it around the edges of the tube pan. Make sure to allow space for the cake to rise over the rim of the pan without coming in contact with the foil.

Variation: Make 3 dozen individual-serve cakes, if desired. Lightly grease paper muffin cups, and put them in a muffin tin; youíll probably have to bake in shifts, unless you have lots of pans and a large oven. Or lightly grease 36 stand-alone silicone or foil muffin cups, and place them on a baking sheet. Drop a heaping 1/4-cupful of batter (2 1/2 ounces, 70g) into each cup. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

Make double the amount of glaze. Remove the muffins from the oven, and brush the top of each with about 1 teaspoon of the glaze.
Yield: 36 cakes.