Have you heard of Alton Brown? He’s a bit of a legend in the kitchen, and if the review rating for his Free Range Fruitcake is anything to go by, then the legendary status is well earned.
Any recipe with 5 stars from 200+ reviews shouts a recipe worth trying. The recipe says the flavours mature over a 2 week period. I don’t have 2 weeks to wait so I can tell you right now that if the flavours get even better, then this cake will knock your socks off. If you can resist the temptation not to sneak a slice that is.
This fruitcake is not like the type of fruitcakes that we’re more used to. I guess I’m used to a fruitcake that probably originated from our English forefathers. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the Americans must have some really filthy fruitcake recipes for this recipe to turn fruit cake haters into fruit cake lovers. As I say, this is a very tasty cake, but I don’t think our English originated fruitcake is nasty, I wouldn’t be making it year after year, even if I keep trying different recipes.
I almost didn’t make the cake. I needed currents, a dried fruit I thought I had left over from making the Christmas cakes in October, but I was wrong. I’d already bought prunes to replace the dried cherries and I assumed the recipe called for sultanas, but it didn’t! So I swapped out the currents for sultanas and I was good to go. And then I read about macerating the fruit overnight. I would usually do this, but I didn’t have time. I wanted to make the recipe today. Thankfully there were instructions to instead microwave the dried fruit and rum. I would never have thought to do that. What a great “cheat” of time. And it worked beautifully.
I gave the fruit a stir after 2 minutes. The fumes from the hot fruit almost caused my eyes to water. I don’t drink so I’m not used to alcohol as a drink but I certainly didn’t expect it to have such an overpowering smell that it would cause me to have to turn away from the bowl until I got my vision back. The smell was divine.
Then onto putting the butter, spices and apple juice with the fruit and boiling it. The smell just intensified. Did I say divine already?
The recipe says to leave the fruit for 15 minutes before mixing in the dry ingredients then the eggs. Instead I left it for probably closer to hours and even then the bottom of the bowl was still holding a little heat.
The mixture is meant to be for a loaf tin but I had read others say they made mini loaves and muffins with the recipe. Since we’ve got Christmas cake I had planned to make muffins from the batter which would give Mr Fussy cake all week long (though he tells me he has plenty to keep him going and more treats are not necessary – after I’d started the recipe that is).
I used my cupcake scoop (like an ice cream scoop) and used 1 and 1/3 scoops for the paper (yes, they were paper, not greased at all, much to my disappointment) liners and still had enough batter left over for 5 mini loaves, which also used the same amount of batter. I have since measured out the scoop and 1/3 and it’s just a bit over 50ml, just a bit under ¼ cup.
Not only did I not have 2 weeks to wait, I had to sample one of the loaves tonight. I can’t post about a recipe and not say “I’m sure it will be nice”. I also wanted to be able to describe or show the texture of the cake. It’s a very soft cake, and it’s definitely more a cake-cake, not like a traditional fruit cake which is dense and has very little batter by comparison to the fruit. Though there’s plenty of fruit in this recipe. Mr Fussy gives it the big thumbs up also, though he would only have one mouthful since we’d already had a slice of Austrian Shortbread (recipe/post to come) and he didn’t feel like he needed anything more. I do wish I could politely turn away sweet fruit. I’m afraid it’s restraint I don’t have. The other reason that I felt it was necessary to sample tonight is that tomorrow I’m going to try and say NO to anything during the week. Ok, I do have a slice of the Christmas cake I’m taking to work to partake in, but that’s it. I hope ;-)
These are the changes I made:
- Swapped currents for sultanas
- Swapped dried cherries for prunes
- None of my fruit was sun-ripened, or golden
- I used Coruba Rum
- 1/8th teaspoon of Allspice
- 1/8th teaspoon of ground cloves
- Charlie’s apple juice (I don’t think we have unfiltered here, at least not in the supermarket)
- 223gm flour (I like to weigh rather than use cup measurements)
- Salted butter and omitted the salt as a separate ingredient
Now all I have to do is wrestle with those awful non-greased baking papers. Things could get messy.
Ohh, I’ve got an update already. I was putting the cakes away and saw one of the papers had a small tear in it (I probably picked at it when deciding if I was doomed) so I decided to continue to tear. And the paper came off without grabbing at the cake. I had to keep tearing strips from top down but it still came off without the agony I was expecting. Hoorah!
Oh, and I finished Santa. I did give him new legs, which I’m also not happy with. Now he has shiny boots, a new hand (he fell off and the candy cane broke I tried to scrape the bit left behind inside his hand and his hand fell off!) and new (better) candy cane and a metallic buckle and I added some sparkle “snowflake” dust to his beard and some other white bits to his santa suit. Now what to do with him??