Due to extreme prejudice of most members of my family against fruitcake, I expect I'll be the only one to eat much of this week's cake. I am attempting to get around glacéed cherry aversion by using a mix of non-glacéed dried fruit and candied ginger, but that will only put the cake in other people's aversion zone. Fruitcake is just one of those polarizing things. You might think the high alcohol content would help, but most of my captive cake-testing panel are under the legal drinking age.
Last weekend I put together my fruit mix, raiding my rather large and somewhat old collection of dried fruit, which I keep in the fridge hydrator. I ended up with:
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. dried blueberries
1/3 c. dried apricot, chopped to about the size of the cherries
1/3 c. total of a mix of dried peach and apple
2 T. crystalized ginger, minced
the peel of an orange and a lemon, coarsely chopped
The general idea of a non-glacéed fruitcake, and ideas on the fruit to include, I took from Alton Brown's Freerange Fruitcake. I doused my mixture with dark rum and stored it in a plastic container with a good lid, and shook it a little every day to mix up the fruit. The rum disappeared early, perhaps because my dried fruit was drier than normal (the dehydrating hydrator drawer!), so I added a couple of tablespoons twice during the week. By Friday, the fruits were getting pretty plump.
Then it was on to the cake. I had the same confusion as others about the butter first being described as creamy, then as melted, but went with my idea of creamy--still the color of solid butter, but so soft as to feel like I was stirring whipped cream. My muscovado sugar didn't quite beat in smoothly and little tiny lumps were still visible in the mixture even after beating in my 1-1/2 egg--the sugar might have been a little on the dry side, too. Then the dry ingredients went in, then the fruit, then the nuts, and the batter was ready. It did almost fill my 6-cup fluted tube pan.
I forgot to note my final cooking time for the half-cake--about 50 minutes, I think. And I didn't read all of Rose's note (raps knuckles, promises to do better) and didn't tent the pan with foil, so the outer edges look a little over-done. However, it came out of the pan very smoothly and looks very pretty.
No taste-testing results this week, as I'm letting my cake age a couple of weeks at least. It's swaddled in rum-soaked cheesecloth and plastic wrap, and I have a little spray bottle of dark rum to spritz it with every few days when the cheesecloth gets a little dry. I'm looking forward to a slice with a nice cup of hot tea somewhere in the week before Christmas, when I'll need a sanity break.