Christmas Fruitcake

Key ingredients in a fruit cake

  • Candied fruits: Fruits like cherries, orange peel, pineapple and citron and are often candied by preserving them in sugar syrup. They add sweetness and a wonderful vibrant colour to fruit cake, and can often be bought at your local grocery store to save time!

  • Dried fruits: Raisins, currants, dates, and apricots are commonly used dried fruits in fruitcakes. They provide a chewy and fruity texture to the cake and add moisture too.

  • Nuts: Chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds, are often added to provide a crunchy element and enhance the flavour. For us, nuts are a MUST in a fruit cake otherwise there’s nothing to cut through the dried fruit which can sometimes be overwhelming.

  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are typical spices used in fruitcakes to add warmth and depth of flavour.

  • Liquor: Some fruitcakes are soaked in alcohol, such as brandy, rum, or whiskey, which helps preserve the cake and adds a unique flavour. Because I personally don’t drink alcohol I have left this out of this recipe. 

Ingredients

Fruit Cake

  • ¾ cups (170 g) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cups (150 g) soft brown sugar
  • 2 cups (350 g) dried fruitsI used a combination of sultanas, raisins, currants, red and green glace cherries and citrus peel.
  • ½ cup (100 g) datespitted and cut into small pieces.
  • cups (166 g) store bought sweetened orange juice.
  • tbsp orange zestthe zest of about 1 medium sized orange. The juice of the orange will be used later in the syrup.
  • 2 tbsp (36 g) molasses
  • cups (210 g) all purpose flour
  • tsps baking powder
  • ½ tsp saltomit if using salted butter
  • tsps cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp ground ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • ¼ cup (52 g) unflavoured vegetable oil – We use Wilson’s canola oil
  • 3 large eggsroom temperature
  • 1 cup (100 g) walnutshalved

Orange Syrup/Glaze

  • 3 tbsp (50 g) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • tbsp (20 g) white granulated sugar

Method:

  1. Boiled Fruit Mixture

    • To a large saucepan add in unsalted butter, soft brown sugar, dried fruits, dates, orange juice, orange zest and molasses. Bring that to a simmer over a medium heat, and once simmering, continue to let it simmer for a few more minutes.
    • Once done, pour the mixture in a large shallow dish to cool. To speed up the process I like to place the mixture into the freezer for about 45 minutes. Once ready it should have thickened up in consistency. Make sure it’s at room temperature (not hot or cold) before moving onto the next step.

    Fruit Cake

      • Preheat oven to 140 °C (285°F) with the fan on grease an cake tin (I use my homemade cake release), and line the bottom with baking paper.
      • Sift together your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, ground ginger powder, nutmeg and all spice. Mix together with a whisk or fork and set aside for now.
      • In a small bowl combine the unflavoured vegetable oil and eggs. Whisk with a fork and set aside.
      • In a large bowl add in the boiled fruit mixture from earlier (make sure it’s at room temperature), and add in the oil/egg mixture. Using a spatula, fold until it’s well combined. The mixture is quite thick so may take a bit of mixing to get it all combined properly.
      • Next add in the walnuts (and dates if you didn’t add them to the boiled fruit mixture), and fold until well combined.
    • Next add in the sifted dry ingredients from earlier and fold until just combined. Do not overmix, so only mix until you can’t see any more streaks of flour.
    • Pour the batter into the cake tin and spread it out evenly. Drop the cake tin lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles, and then bake for 75-85 minutes, or until a skewer or knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
    • Allow the cake to cool in the cake tin for 30 minutes and then run a thin knife around the edges of the cake tin to release the cake, and then turn it out onto a wire rack (right side up) to cool.

    Orange Syrup

    • While the cake is cooling, prepare the orange syrup. Combine the orange juice and sugar in a bowl, and then heat it up (in the microwave or on the stove top) until the sugar is completely dissolved.
    • Using a pastry brush, brush the orange syrup all over the top and sides of the cake while the cake is still warm. Be sure to use all the syrup up.
    • Wrap the cake in two layers of foil and place it into an airtight container. Leave it in a cool dry place for 48 hours before serving.
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