Holiday Fruit Cake Recipe
A Little Christmas Story
Before I was born, my father used to work for a Scottish man name Hugh for his large estate in Perak. He took care of his horses, his house, and sometimes he cooked for him and his family too. Every year during the Christmas holiday, Hugh often brings a beautifully decorated box and presents it to my father. When my father removed the box, installing inside was a pleasant fruit cake packed with candied and dried fruits. I love listening to my father's story when he was very young. Thus, from this story and to celebrate the holiday, I decided to make a fruit cake.
Fruit Cake Ingredients
I have tasted a delicious fruit cake, but very seldom I made the cake. Since it's been a while, I decided to prepare the ingredients a day before I started baking the cake. I thought it would be nice to make the cake for Christmas this year. By the way, to make a fruit cake it is always started by soaking the dried fruits with liquor or alcohol. For this recipe, I have used raisins, dried cranberries, glazed cherries, and orange zest. I wish I had sultanas in the mixture but, sultanas are not a common ingredient in the US supermarket.
By the way, some have preferred to put chopped nuts such as cashew and pecan but, I don't have any in the pantry so, I decided to leave them out. If you want to add nuts, just roughly chopped them (about 1 cup) and mix them into the cake mixture before putting them in a prepared baking pan.
Why Alcohol Is Used In the Fruit Cake?
It is said, alcohol dictates the fruit cake flavors as well as act as a preservative. Usually, brandy, dark rum or red wine is used to soak the dried fruits overnight. However, I decided to opt-out of the alcohol and substitute with the orange juice. I prefer a strong citrus flavor in the fruit cake.
Tips for A Moist Fruit Cake
A fruit cake usually takes 3-4 hours to bake or steam. This time I decided to bake the cake as my food steamer is not larger enough to fit the pan. Fruit cake is best when it's moist and not dried. To keep the moisture of the fruit cake, brush the cake's top with the strained juice or orange juice. After that, cover the cake tightly with a cling wrap and store it at room temperature. The longer it sits, the better the cake will be. Slice the cake when it's ready to be served. If you're using juice like me, refrigerate the cake after 3 days of being at room temperature.
By the way, did you know December 27th is a National Fruit Cake Day in the US? I guess it's a perfect time to bake one!
I hope you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do!
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (add 1/3 cup more if the mixture is very sticky)
- 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 1/2 cup mix dried fruits (I used dried cranberries, raisins, glazed red cherries, and 2 tablespoons orange zest)
- 1 1/3 cup orange juice or grape or pineapple
- 3 large brown eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1-2 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- To soak the fruit mixture: In a jar, combine the raisins, dried cranberries, glazed cherries, and orange zest. Add the orange juice into the fruit mixture and cover it with a cling wrap. Put the lid on the jar and store it at room temperature. (You can do this a day before and soak the mixture overnight).
- On the day of baking: Preheat the oven at 290°F.
- Strain the fruit mixture and set aside. (Save the strained juice for later).
- Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and dark brown sugar. Start mixing with lower speed to combine. Then switch to medium speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and pale.
- Lower the speed and add eggs one at a time.
- Add molasses, vanilla extract, and orange juice into the mixture.
- Add the flour mixture, in two batches. Do not over mixing. Stop the mixer as soon as the mixture comes together.
- Add 3 tablespoons of flour into the mixed fruits and mix well. (This is to prevent the mixed fruit from sinking to the bottom of the pan.
- In the same mixing bowl, add the mixed fruits. Use a spatula to combine the fruits into the cake mixture.
- Transfer the cake mixture into a prepared pan.
- Bake in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours. (Cooking time may vary).
- Transfer the cake onto a wire rack to cool.
- Use a skewer to poke random holes on the cake.
- Brush the cake with the strained juice or orange juice.
- Wrap the cake with a cling wrap to keep the moisture in the cake. Let it sit overnight at room temperature.
- Occasionally, the next day unwrap the cake and brushes the cake with juice.
- Slice the fruit cake when it's ready to be served.
- Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea!
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© 2019 Liza