Fruitcake, to be precise. Who likes it?
Well, I do. I love fruitcake and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a slice or two of the dark, moist, fragrant confection.
The best fruitcakes are baked early to allow flavours to develop and intensify. I start mine at least a month before Christmas.
Firstly, dried fruits are dumped in a bowl and doused with a glug or two of booze. Some use rum. Some use brandy. I use whisky. Canadian Club Rye Whisky to be precise.
Tasting of the fruit at this stage is mandatory. <grin>
After allowing the fruit to soak up the booze for at least twelve hours (I give it an entire day [more time to taste test the fruit]) it’s stirred into a batter rich with butter, eggs and sugar. Also those warm spices that scream holiday baking – nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
The batter is plunked in a lined baking pan and baked at a low temperature for hours. 285 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours to be precise. The house smells divine. It smells like the holidays of my childhood.
Then the cake needs to cool completely. Given its density, that takes a couple hours.
To help keep the cake moist, and to aid in its longevity, the cake is “fed” with additional booze, whisky in this case, at regular intervals. I feed mine weekly by sprinkling a few tablespoons of whisky over the top of the cake before tightly re-wrapping it in parchment paper and tin foil. Normally I’d store the cake in a large cake tin but IT’S STILL IN STORAGE!
Perhaps it’s time for another cake feeding. And I might just have a tipple, too.
Do you like fruitcake? Have you tried a homemade version that’s nicely steeped in spirits?
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow to all my American friends and relations!
A very important weekend starts right now! You might be glancing at the calendar on your wall or desk and be thinking “okay, the autumnal equinox is today at 5:02 PM (Atlantic Daylight Time) in the Northern Hemisphere, big whoop”.
Which would be an understandable reaction unless you were part of my family because this is a big weekend for birthdays. Son2 celebrates his. As do I. As does my brother.
I know of people who celebrate a birthday month. And my friend Janet celebrates birthday week – part of which is eating cake for breakfast the day following the big day.
Brilliant! That’s a tradition I’m starting this weekend.
Here’s the recipe for birthday cake in my family.
Aunt Hilda’s Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup sour milk (milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa, dissolved in 1 cup very hot water
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and dust with cocoa a Bundt pan, tube pan, or two 9-inch layer pans.
Sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and cocoa water. Mix until well blended (mixture will be very wet).
Pour into pan, or pans, and bake for 45 – 50 minutes. (25 - 30 minutes for layer pans). Tester inserted near centre should come out clean.
Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely.
Use the frosting or icing of your choice. Son2 prefers chocolate butter cream frosting. Brother enjoys coffee flavoured icing. I like vanilla. Or as an occasional change of pace, orange flavoured frosting. It captures that chocolate-orange combination that’s a slice of perfection.