A Recipe For Rich Dark Christmas Cake
Dark fruit cake is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Many years ago I combined the best of all the dark fruit cake recipes I could find, and this recipe is the result. The cake is rich, dark, and chock full of nuts and fruit. If this is the kind of cake you enjoy, I think you will be pleased with this recipe. This cake is better is it is aged, so plan to make it early.
You will need a very large bowl, a large bowl and a smaller bowl. The recipe makes twelve pounds of fruit cake. I usually make two large loaf cakes and three small ones. The large ones take about three hours to bake and the small ones about two. You can use whatever size or shape of pan you wish, Just keep an eye on them during the baking process.
You will need:
--two pounds of raisins (I use sultanas, but golden will do just fine)
--two pounds of currants
--1 and 1/2 pounds of dates
--1 pound of whole, or half, walnuts (my preference, though you can use pecans or blanched almonds if you wish)
--1 pound of mixed peel
--1 pound of glazed cherries
--1/4 pound of glazed pineapple
--1/4 cup of flour (this is to coat the fruit - you will need more flour later)
--1 pound of butter, softened to room temperature
--2 cups white sugar
--8 eggs, beaten
--2 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
--3/4 tablespoon cloves
--3/4 tablespoon nutmeg
--3/4 tablespoon cinnamon
--1/2 teaspoon baking soda
--1/2 lemon - grate the rind and then squeeze out the juice (mix this with the following)
--1/2 cup pineapple juice
Prepare your pans. I line mine with tin foil or you can use greased brown paper or parchment paper. Make sure the foil or paper comes over the top of the pans and can be folded down.
Heat your oven to 300 degrees. When the oven reaches the desired temperature, place a large pan of hot water on the bottom shelf. This is to remain during the baking process to keep the tops of the cakes from becoming too dry.
- In a large bowl, mix together all the fruits and the 1/4 cup of flour. Make sure all the pieces of fruit are separated and coated. Mix in the nuts and set the bowl aside.
- In the smaller bowl blend together the 2 3/4 cups of flour, the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and the baking soda. Set this mixture aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together completely, the softened butter and the sugar. Blend in the beaten eggs.
- To this mixture, add, alternately, the flour mixture, and the juice mixture. When this is all well blended, stir in the fruit mixture. This takes some effort. I use my hands to do a thorough job.
Divide the batter among your pans. Press the batter firmly into the pans and smooth the tops.
Place the pans in the hot oven, leaving space between them. After about one hour, check your small cakes. The smaller cakes take about 2 hours and the larger ones about 3 hours. Baking time will depend on the state of your oven. When the cakes are done, the tops will be firm to the touch and there will be no more sizzling.
When the cakes are done, remove the pans to your cooling racks. After fifteen minutes, lift the cakes out of the pans, using the overlapping foil for handles. Allow to cool completely.
Wrap the cakes tightly in foil wrap, and let them age for about four weeks or more.
For adult consumers, I periodically unwrap a large cake, pierce it with my finest knitting needle and bathe it in about 1/4 cup of brandy.
These cakes can also be glazed or iced. To me that is gilding the lily, but the choice is yours. Serve and enjoy!