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This tasty fruitcake features a sour cream pound cake base, and a filling of some of our very favorite dried fruits: cherries, apricots, pineapple, and golden raisins. Pecans or walnuts complete the picture. For a more colorful cake, add 1 to 1 3/4 cups of red candied cherries to the other fruit. Or, if you'd just like a simple pound cake, omit the fruits altogether and bake it in two pans instead of three. And finally, if you're an aficionado of citron and its holiday friends, feel free to use those fruits instead.
1 cup dried pineapple, diced
1 cup dried cherries (sour or sweet)
1 cup dried apricots, diced, or slivered dried apricots
2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup brandy or rum, for soaking the fruit
1 cup vegetable shortening or unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 large eggs
1/4 cup brandy or rum, to add to the cake batter
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sour cream, Cabot brand preferred
2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the dried fruits and the 1/2 cup brandy or rum. Set the fruit aside for 2 hours or longer. Stir occasionally, so the fruit absorbs the liquor evenly.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition. Beat in the brandy or rum.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add half the flour to the shortening mixture, and beat well. Add the sour cream, beating all the time, then the remaining flour. Beat well. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally to be sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Stir in the fruits (they should have absorbed all the liquid; if not, don't drain them) and the nuts.
Spoon the batter into three well-greased and floured 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pans. Bake the cakes in a preheated 325°F oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Remove them from the pans and cool completely on wire racks. If you're making them well ahead of serving, brush them with brandy or rum before wrapping tightly and storing at room temperature. If desired, sprinkle with glazing sugar or frost with a light glaze before serving. Serve in thin slices. Yield: three 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch fruitcakes.
Note: If using a 10-cup (10-inch) bundt-style pan, or several smaller pans, adjust the baking time accordingly. No matter what pan(s) you use, don't fill them more than three-quarters full, or you'll be cleaning blackened cake batter off the floor of your oven.