In our house, we love Dark Brandied Christmas Fruitcake with warm spices and delicious dried fruits, always reminds me of the aromas of the Holidays.
- Note: This recipe calls for nuts, and since some people don’t eat nuts, I only put nuts into the batter for one of the two fruitcakes.
Dark Brandied Christmas Fruitcake:
This fruitcake can certainly be eaten immediately, but for the best flavor and texture, the cake needs to age, and I age it for 1 or 2 months.
The day of baking the fruitcakes, pierce the cakes with a skewer, in several places, and place the loaves into a shallow, glass pan about 11 inches x 14 inches or larger, and 2 or 3 inches deep. Then, pour about 1 cup of brandy or flavored brandy over the cakes, and they are allowed to age for about 1 month.
They can be left to age for a longer period, provided that a small amount of brandy is left in the bottom of the pan, at all times. You might need to replenish the brandy at some time during the aging.
For cakes that are allowed to age for a longer period of time – after 2 months, the cakes should be covered with icing sugar, in a dry, sealable pan or tin. A large popcorn tin with a lid, is a good choice. The icing sugar prevents the cake from mold. I have stored a couple of these fruitcakes for over a year, and they were amazingly delicious and brimming with full, sweet, fruity flavor.
I understand that fruitcakes soaked in brandy, stored covered with icing sugar, and sealed airtight, have been allowed to successfully age for 100 years. Since I have not tried this, I can’t vouch for the veracity of this statement, but I do know that they stored them in this fashion, for a long period of time.
If you don’t wish to use brandy to age the cakes, you can just go ahead and store them, immersed in icing sugar in a sealed airtight container until ready to frost the cakes, You could also soak the cake with grape juice and after 24 hours, freeze the fruitcakes. The cakes are equally good without frosting and by sprinkling of icing sugar.
Type: Cake Recipe
Prep Time: 15 min
Baking Time: 1-1/2 hrs for 2 loaf pans; 2-1/2 – 3 hrs for a tube pan
Yield: two 9 inch x 5 inch loaf cakes, or one 10 inch tube pan
- Note: If there is one or more ingredient that doesn’t appeal to you for this Christmas fruitcake, or that you particularly dislike, feel free to omit it, or substitute it for another ingredient.
- Example: You might not want nuts or citrus peel in your fruitcake, and that’s okay, although your cake might not taste the same as mine. Since you are making your own fruitcake, it should contain all the things that please you, and make you happy.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground mace
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup butter – room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups brown sugar + 1 tsp brown sugar for whipping egg whites
- 6 eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup molasses
- juice of 1 orange
- grated orange zest
- juice of 1 lemon
- grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup of brandy
- 2 1/2 cups of chopped, assorted, dried fruits or candied fruits
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans – enough for 1 loaf
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 3/4 cup currants
- 3/4 cups golden raisins
- 3/4 cup dark raisins
- 1/2 cup assorted jujubes or gumdrops
- Thoroughly grease and flour the 2 loaf pans with shortening, using a pastry brush. Cut and place pieces of parchment, to cover the bottoms of the pans. Grease the parchment paper so it will peel off easily after baking the fruitcake.
- Sift the following ingredients together into a bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground mace, ground cloves & ground allspice.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter – for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the brown sugar, and beat until well incorporated.
- Beat 3 of the eggs into the butter, one at a time. Separate the other 3 eggs, and beat the 3 egg yolks into the butter mixture on high speed, until the mixture is light & fluffy. Leave the other 3 egg whites in a separate bowl, and set aside.
- Into the egg and butter mixture, beat the molasses, brandy, lemon & orange zests, and lemon & orange juices, until the ingredients are well blended.
- With a large mixing spoon, stir in, the assorted chopped candied & dried fruits, dates, currants, golden & dark raisins, and jujubes or gumdrops, until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add the 1 tbsp brown sugar and cream of tartar, and continue to whisk on high speed, until soft peaks form.
- Using the wooden spoon or spatula, fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter, scraping the bottom and sides to be sure all the ingredients are distributed evenly.
- Separate the batter into two halves. Into one half of the batter, add & stir in the chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Scrape the batters into the loaf tins & spread evenly. Make a mark to indicate which cake contains nuts.
- Bake in a preheated 325 degrees F oven, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean – about 1 1/2 hours.
- Tip: If the tops of the cakes get too dark, protect the cakes with a loose foil tent – probably after 40 – 45 minutes.
- Tip: I like to place a small tray of water on the bottom rack to keep the oven and cakes moist.
- When the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack, for about 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the parchment from the bottom of the cakes. Then, transfer the cakes, right side up, to a wire cooling rack, and allow them to sit there for about 1 hour more.
- Using a skewer, pierce the cake bottoms, tops and sides with several holes.
- Pour half of the brandy into the glass baking tray 11 inch x 13 inch or larger, place the cakes into the tray, and pour the other half of the brandy over the tops of the cakes. Allow cakes to remain in the tray, on your counter, to allow the brandy to seep into the cakes.
- The cakes can be served within 24 hours, but it is tastier if the cakes in the tray are placed into a sealable container and aged for at least 1 or 2 months, replenishing the brandy, from time to time, as it is absorbed into the cakes.
- After 2 months, if you plan on storing the cake longer, place cakes into a sealable, airtight container filled with enough icing sugar, to completely cover the cakes on all sides.
- I will be serving the cakes after 1 month of aging. At that time, I will remove them from the storage container and then, either cover the Christmas fruitcake with fondant, or ice with a buttercream or cream cheese frosting.
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Our Dark Brandied Christmas Fruitcake has a very delicious flavor, and worthy of making that midnight trip to the kitchen for a rich, delectable snack.
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