Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rich Fruit Cake

Every year around September, I start raiding my family's liquor cabinet for long forgotten bottles of brandy that rarely get used. Then by October, I would have bought the dried fruit and taken out the 2 largest canning jars that I have.

I soak the dried fruit in brandy until this time of the year when I make multiple batches of fruit cake to give away to those whom I owe favours to. The recipe can be doubled to quickly make a big batch but the baking time still remains long so I usually set aside at least half a day for my production.

Rich Fruit Cake
makes 3 loaves (7.5 x 3.5 in) or 24 cupcakes

1 1/2 - 2 lbs of dried fruit
1/2 cup brandy

Soak the dried fruit in brandy for at least a couple of days before baking. Drain the fruit well before dredging with flour during baking. Set aside the brandy left behind, it should have thickened to a sauce.

1 cup or 2 sticks butter

2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs treacle or golden syrup
6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup grape juice
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbs ground cinnamon

Preheat oven at 300F.
Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the treacle or golden syrup and eggs yolks until well combined then the grape juice. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cinnamon together, setting aside about 1 cup to dredge the drained dried fruit with. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the dredged fruit then the egg whites. Scoop into cake tins or cupcake liners.

Bake for 90 minutes if making loaves or 40 minutes for cupcakes. Cover the tops with foil halfway through baking time to prevent over browning. Upon cooling, spoon the reserved brandy over the top of the cakes and let it soak in. Wrap and keep overnight before eating.

For a stronger brandy flavor, I sometimes fill a syringe (it helps to have doctor friends who are foodies) with brandy and pump more into the middle of the cake.

For the cupcake versions, I topped them with royal icing.

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