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Orange-Cranberry-Nut Fruit Cake

Author: Sue Gray

Orange-Cranberry-Nut Fruit Cake Recipe

More of a cake with fruit than a traditional "fruitcake," this cake is stuffed with apricots, cherries, cranberries, and toasted nuts (in place of the usual fruitcake's citron and peel), then glazed with a sweetened orange juice syrup. Moist and nicely dense, it's a revelation to those who think they don't like fruitcake; and a nice change for aficionados of the typical dark, liquor-soaked loaf. While the picture shows a full-size bundt-style cake, the recipe translates easily to smaller gift-size cakes; see step #2; and baker's tips, below.

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At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
Yield: 1 large bundt-style cake; 2 small bundt-style cakes; 2 standard loaves, or 5 to 6 smaller gif
Nutrition information

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Fruit

  • 2 cups dried cranberries or orange-flavored dried cranberries; or Orange Jammy Bits
  • 2 cups dried fruit blend or dried apricots, chopped; or Apricot Jammy Bits
  • 1/2 cup water, cranberry juice, or brandy
  • 1 3/4 cups candied red cherries

Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange oil, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups diced pecans or walnuts, optional*
  • *For enhanced flavor, toast nuts for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 325°F oven, until golden brown.

Glaze

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Icing, optional

  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • enough milk or water to make a thick but pourable icing

Instructions

  1. To prepare the fruit: Combine the dried fruit (except the candied cherries) with liquid in a bowl. Cover and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, stir, then set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  3. To prepare the cake: In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light-colored and fluffy. Beat in the baking powder, salt, and flavors.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat again briefly, to incorporate any sticky residue.
  5. Stir in the flour alternately with the orange juice.
  6. Stir in the undrained fruit, the candied cherries, and the nuts.
  7. Lightly grease the pans of your choice: two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans; or five 7" wooden bakers; or six 7" paper bake & give pans; or one 12-cup bundt-style pan; or two 6-cup bundt-style pans. For smaller loaves, see baker's tips, below.
  8. Spoon the batter into the lightly greased baking pans, filling them about three-quarters full. If you have a scale, dividing the batter evenly among the pans is simple math. If you've included the nuts, the batter weighs about 90 oz. (2552g).
  9. Bake the cakes for 50 to 90 minutes; smaller pans will bake for the shorter length of time. Half-size bundt-style cakes may need to bake up to 80 minutes, while one full-size bundt may need up to 90 minutes. When done, the cakes will be a light golden brown all over, and a long toothpick or skewer inserted into the center will come out clean.
  10. To make the glaze: Stir together the orange juice and sugar while the cakes are baking. Warm briefly in the microwave; about 45 seconds should do it. Stir to help dissolve the sugar. Set aside to rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally to continue to dissolve the sugar.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven. If you're removing them from the pan(s), wait about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack. Brush the warm cakes all over with the glaze, continuing to brush until you've used it all.
  12. When completely cooled, wrap well and let "age" at least 24 hours; the cake improves with a 24-hour rest.
  13. If desired, drizzle with icing just before serving.
  14. Store cake, well wrapped, at room temperature; it should keep well for a couple of weeks. Freeze for longer storage.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1 slice
  • Servings Per Batch 28 (2 loaves)
Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories 330
  • Calories from Fat 110
  • Total Fat 13g
  • Saturated Fat 5g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 45mg
  • Sodium 140mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 53g
  • Dietary Fiber 2g
  • Sugars 34g
  • Protein 4g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.