What recipe is more reminiscent of the holidays, greeting cards and ornaments than the ubiquitous fruitcake? Soaked in liquor or drenched in fruit syrup, chockfull of various fruit and nut bits that make every loaf of fruitcake look like a jeweled treasure box, this sweet treat is a must-have on every Christmas table and is a perfect gift for friends and relatives during the holiday season. This recipe incorporates the traditional additions of cranberries, cherries and currants with a tropical twist from dried mangoes, and a bit of lift from the mouthpuckering zing of candied citron. The touch of light rum means that it’s delightful for adults without making it too boozy for children, and the use of molasses instead of other sweeteners adds a depth that complements the chopped pecans in this incredible fruitcake. Follow the instructions for ageing and storing this—fruitcake gets better over time!
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons chopped dried cherries
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons chopped dried mango
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup dried currants
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons chopped candied citron
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- 1-1/2 cups light rum
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup unsulfured molasses
- 3 egg
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons milk
- 1-1/2 cups butter
- Soak dried fruit in ¼ cup rum for at least 24 hours. Cover tightly, and store at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter and line with parchment paper a 6 inch round pan.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour in three batches, alternating with the milk and molasses. Stir in the fruit/ rum mixture and nuts.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons rum.
- Place a piece of parchment paper, large enough to wrap entire cake, on a flat surface. Moisten a piece of cheesecloth, large enough to wrap the cake, with 1 tablespoon rum. Place the cheesecloth on top of the parchment paper, and unmold the cake on top of it. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the remaining rum. Wrap the cake, pressing the cheesecloth closely to the surface of the cake. Place the cake in an airtight tin, and let age for at least 10 weeks. If storing longer, douse with additional rum for every 10 weeks of storage.
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