World’s Best Fruitcake

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

I know, I know.  She’s posting a fruitcake recipe?

Trust me, I’ve heard all the jokes.  Door stop, pin cushion, sand bags, you name it. The words “world’s best” and fruitcake are generally not seen as compatible with one another.  After all, it’s probably one of the most ridiculed baked goods in existence.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

You know those ones that are sold in the stores or sent as gifts at this time of the year?  I despise those ones too.

They’re dry (in a this-must-have-been-baked-several-months-ago kind of way) and filled with those scary neon, candied fruit bits.  I’m not even sure if they are actually fruit.

Just all around bad.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

But….this recipe, which I’m sharing today, is not your average fruitcake recipe.

It’s actually my mom’s recipe, which she has tweaked and perfected over the years, and makes every single year during the holidays.

At one point, my mom and godmother even attempted a very short-lived fruitcake business–that is until they realized that it is probably one of those expensive desserts to make of all time (dried fruit and booze!) and they had to charge a fortune to break even.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

Regardless, Christmas is just not the same without this fruitcake.

In fact, British desserts are sort of the go-to at our house during this time of year (my dad’s English, so its not completely random).  We even have homemade year-old figgy pudding, which is flamed right before we serve it, on Christmas evening.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

Anyway, back to the recipe. This fruitcake is all about the dried fruit.  And there is a ton of it in there.

Dried unsweetened apricots, cherries, figs, prunes, raisins, pears, peaches, apples–all of which gets soaked in dark rum the day before baking.

Have I mentioned that this cake is boozy?  Because it is.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

This gets folded into the batter the following day, along with fresh apple, slivered almonds, and lots of fresh lemon and orange zest–and baked in a loaf tin at a low temperature for nearly an hour and a half. [As you might notice in the recipe, you can also add dark chocolate, which is my dad’s and oldest sister’s favorite version.]

The resulting fruitcake is so incredibly moist and is perfectly balanced in sweetness.  It really does taste like Christmas.  And…here comes the fun part.  To store it, you wrap it in sherry or triple sec soaked cheesecloth!  Yes, lots and lots of booze.

Brush it with a simple apricot glaze and serve it sliced with a little bit of butter.  You’ll definitely become a fruitcake convert for life!

World's Best Fruitcake

Ingredients:

Soaked Fruit:

  • 2 ½ cups dried currants
  • 2 cups dark raisins
  • 1 ¾ cups mixed combination of dried fruit (apricots, apples, pears, peaches)
  • 1 cup dried black figs
  • ¾ cup chopped prunes
  • ½ cups dried cherries
  • 6 ounces dark rum

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 granny smith apple (peeled), chopped or grated
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds (or if prefer, chopped pecans or walnuts)
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced crystallized ginger
  • one batch soaked fruit mixture (see above)
  • ½ to 2/3 cup of dark/bittersweet chocolate pieces or chocolate chips (optional)

Apricot Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup water

For Storage:

  • dry sherry or triple sec
  • unbleached cheesecloth

Directions:

Prepare the night before:

  1. Chop all of the dried fruit and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the dark rum, cover with plastic wrap, and allow fruit to soak overnight in a cool place.

Prepare Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar over medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just incorporated, scraping the bowl down with a spatula after each additional.
  5. Over low speed, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Add the orange juice, zest, maple syrup, fresh apple, slivered almonds, candied ginger, and soaked dried fruit and stir with a spatula until everything is incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the loaf pans. Bake at 300 degrees (F) for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, or until cake is set. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool completely, before removing. Once the cake has cooled, soak cheesecloth in sherry (or triple sec) and wrap each cake in cheesecloth tightly.
  7. Cover loafs with wax paper and foil, before placing in a large ziploc bag. Store in refrigerator for up to 6-8 weeks. Unwrap and soak cheese cloth with medium dry sherry once a week.

To Serve:

  1. Combine apricot preserves and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a light simmer, until glaze is thin and shiny (you can reduce if too thin, or add more water if it gets too thick).
  2. Brush tops of fruit cakes with apricot glaze and garnish with pecans or waters.

Use unsweetened (dried) fruit for best results.

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