Traditional Christmas Fruitcake
Soaked Fruits, Toasted Nuts Aged with Dark Rum
3/4 cups diced dried pineapple [120 g]
3/4 cups golden raisins [120 g]
1/2 cup diced dried apricots [80 g]
3/4 cups chopped dates [120 g]
1/2 cup red candied cherries [80 g]
3 tbsp diced candied ginger [40 g]
2 tsp orange zest [4 g]
3/4 cup rum or brandy (non-alcoholic substitute - cranberry or apple juice)
1/4 cup cranberry juice (substitute with apple juice)
8 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs (room temperature)
2 tbsp maple syrup (substitute with corn syrup)
1/3 cup cranberry juice (substitute with apple juice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup toasted shelled/salted pistachios [30 g]
1/4 cup toasted chopped almonds [30 g]
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans [30 g]
1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts [30 g]
Decorative Topping: (optional)
1/2 cup red candied cherries [80 g]
1/4 cup pecan halves [30 g]
additional rum or brandy, as needed (non-alcoholic substitute - simple syrup)
In a non-reactive bowl like glass or stainless steel, add in: 3/4 cups diced dried pineapple, 3/4 cups golden raisins, 1/2 cup diced dried apricots, 3/4 cups chopped dates, 1/2 cup red candied cherries, 3 tbsp diced candied ginger, and 2 tsp orange zest. Lightly toss this up to mix. Then add in 3/4 cup rum or brandy, and 1/4 cup of cranberry juice. Cover with lid or plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature overnight.
Making the Cake:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a baking sheet, mix add in 1/4 cup of shelled/salted pistachios, 1/4 cup of chopped almonds, 1/4 cup of chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, and mix them up. Toast for 10 to 12 minutes, till the nuts are browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Turn down the oven temperature to 275 F, and very generously butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl add 8 tbsp of *room temperature* butter, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of dark brown sugar, and beat this together with an electric mixer until uniform. While continuing to beat, add in 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of allspice, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
Then 1 egg at a time, beat in 2 eggs, making sure that the previous egg is combined before adding the next one. Then beat in 2 tbsp of maple syrup, 1/3 cup of cranberry juice, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
With a sieve, sift in 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Gently beat this in just until combined.
Pour in the soaked fruit mixture (including liquid, if any), the prepared toasted chopped nuts from earlier, and fold everything in very well, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure the batter is well combined and uniform.
Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan - it should not exceed more than 3/4 of the way up - otherwise it may overflow.
This is an optional step: decorate the top of the batter with approximately 1/4 cup of pecan halves and approximately 1/2 cup of red candied cherries in whatever pattern you like. We're just adding a strip of pecan halves along the center, and a row of red candied cherries on either side of the pecans.
Soak a cake strip in cold water. Shake off excess water but do not wring. Wrap the cake strip around the loaf pan. This will prevent the sides of the cake from getting burned / cooking faster than the middle. If you don't have cake strips - I show how to make your own cake strips in Ube Overload video using paper towels and aluminum foil.
Bake the cake on the middle rack of the preheated oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit, for 1 and a half hours to 2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Rest the cake in the loaf pan for 5 minutes. Then gently unstick the sides with a sharp knife as necessary, and invert it onto a wire rack.
While the cake is still warm, generously brush the bottom and sides of the cake with additional rum or brandy. Turn it right side up, and generously brush the top with additional rum or brandy.
When the cake has come to room temperature, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. With the alcohol and wrapped tightly in plastic, it will keep at room temperature for 2 months.
You can serve it immediately, but we recommend letting it sit at room temperature to age for at least a couple of days to 1 week before eating. Its flavor will improve and become more complex as it ages. If you're aging the cake, generously brush with additional rum or brandy once a week, and again right before serving. Enjoy!