The fruitcake challenge part 3!

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Hi everyone! I am a tad late (I meant to post this at the beginning of November but got overwhelmed with grading and school stuff!) but here is my last invitation to join me in the Fruitcake Challenge! My recipe and instructions are below. I am including some funny myths about fruitcakes from  The Fruitcake Institute No, I can´t believe there is a fruitcake institute either, but there you have it!

Dispelling the Myths

Myth: Fruitcake is the worst, most dreaded gift you could give.

Truth: Fruitcake is a wonderfully delicious gift. The worst gift would be to give a framed photograph of yourself to a loved one or friend.
Myth: Everyone hates fruitcake.

Truth: People secretly love fruitcake but just love to complain about it.

Myth: Fruitcake is nasty and tastes like ####.Truth: Fruitcake is sweet and delicious.
Myth: Fruitcake is only good as a doorstop, anchor, or alternate building material in place of brick.Truth: Fruitcake, while it is strong enough to be used as all of the above, would be wasted if it doesn’t end up eaten by a human.
Myth: There is only one fruitcake and it makes its way all around the world.

Truth: This is a ludicrous statement that we refuse to address.
Myth: No one will own up to inventing fruitcake. It was probably created as punishment by an angry grandma.

Truth: Fruitcake was invented in ancient Rome, and was made of pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. To this day, Claxton, Georgia and Claxon, Texas have been fighting for over 100 years as to who is the true Fruitcake maker.

Now on to the challenge!

If you decide to take up my challenge, here are some guidelines: (I have Lili over at Lili’s Cakes for inspiring me to post a challenge. I love her challenges).

1. On the 26th of December, I will post the Fruitcake Challenge link. I will post the results of my own fruitcake too! Link your fruitcake posts to my post so that I can include you in the challenge. As soon as I have all the links, I will share all of your results in a later post on my blog. The deadline to post them is January 2nd.

2. You are not obligated to share your recipes or any adjustments you made. Still, if you have any advice to share, it is much appreciated.

3. It would be great if you could include this image in your post.
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4. If you have any doubts or questions, please ask.

5. Have fun!

Some things to remember about fruitcakes before you proceed to reading the recipe and instructions:
* You don´t need to use any kind of expensive brandy. I use a Spanish one that costs about 6 euros. If you are not keen on brandy, you can choose a dark rum or even whiskey instead. I have also heard that if you don´t want to use alcohol, you can also use orange juice.
* Fuitcake recipes are quite flexible. For example, Delia uses currants which are hard to find here in Spain. No problem. I replace the amount of currants with something else. You can use any combination of dried fruits that you like. I have used apricots, peaches, raisins prunes and dates. This year, my ingredients included the following:
140 g candied orange peel
90 g almonds
30 g walnuts
80 g dried peaches
180 g glace cherries
150 g dates
100 g raisins
145 g figs
* Before you make the cake, soak your dried fruit and nuts in your brandy and rum for 1 to 2 days. It improves their flavour tremendously. I just put them in a tupperware, fill it with brandy until they are just covered, put the lid on it and then set it aside. After one or two days, drain them well before baking. Afterwards, the leftover brandy can be used to ¨feed¨ your cake. No waste.

* KNOW your oven. The original recipe states that you should not even expect the cake to be done before four hours have passed. The cake is baked on low heat and cakes with dried fruits bake longer. However, my fruitcakes are done within two to two and half hours./div>

* I use a cake pan that is 3 inches deep and 9 inches wide.  I love the height it produces. It is a springform. I recommend using a springform because it improves the shape and it is easier to remove the cake afterwards!
* This cake can also include a marzipan icing but I never use it. I think the cake is perfect as it is.

If you choose to do the marzipan icing, do it on the day you will serve it. The Christmas cake marzipan icing can be found on Delia’s website.

Here is the original list of ingredients from Delia online I have adapted her instructions only slightly. For example, she only soaks the dried  fruit and not the nuts. She covers her cake with parchment paper and I don´t. You decide what you want to do!

Ingredients
For the pre-soaking:
 450g currants
 175g sultanas
 175g raisins
 50g chopped glacé cherries
 50g mixed chopped candied peel
 100ml brandy
For the cake:
 225g plain flour [ use cake flour]
 ½ teaspoon salt
 ¼ level teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
 ½ level teaspoon ground mixed spice
 225g dark brown soft sugar
 4 large eggs
 1 dessertspoon black treacle [Treacle is molasses]
 225g spreadable butter [Unsalted]
 50g chopped almonds (skin on)  [I  have used skinless]
 zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange [Grated]
For feeding and topping:
 Armagnac or brandy to ‘feed’ the cake
 100g whole blanched almonds (only if you don’t intend to ice the cake)
Equipment
Equipment: You will also need a Delia Online 20cm round loose-based cake tin (or similar), greased, with base and side lined plus some baking parchment. Tie a double band of brown paper around the outside of the tin for extra protection

 

Method

  1. A day or two before baking,weigh your dried fruits and nuts that you are using. Place them in a bowl or container, cover them in brandy or rum, cover and set aside.
  2. Drain them well before baking. Set aside the brandy. You can use it to feed your cake afterwards.

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  1. Butter  your cake pan and line it well with parchment paper. It is worth the effort to cut the pieces well to fit your cake pan because it improves the shape of your fruitcake. Appearance is important!

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  1. Preheat oven to 140.
  2.  In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt and spices. Set aside. Then in a separate large bowl, beat (on a low setting) the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy. In another separate bowl, beat (once again on low setting)the eggs until they are fluffy. Then add them to the butter mixture a little at a time. It is important to add them gradually so that the mixture does not curdle.
    Now fold in the flour gradually. It is important that you fold it in to keep the air in. Set aside.
  3. Now take your drained fruit and add about  3/4 cup of flour. Mix it in until the fruit is well coated. This is done in order to prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake when you put it in the cake pan.
  4.  Now gradually add in the fruit and nuts.Then the grated lemon and orange zests.

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     5. Using a large spoon, put the cake mixture into your baking pan. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture out. Then spread the top evenly. Add some walnuts (or almonds)  to the top to make a pretty decoration.(don´t do this if you are going to put icing on it)

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      6. Place the cake on the lowest shelf in the oven. When you see it turning brown at the top, cover it with foil. Delia says to cover it immediately with parchment paper with a hole in the middle the size of about a quarter. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure the parchment paper or foil does not tough the mixture, just the rim of the baking pan.

      7. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Like i said, the original instructions mentioned four hours of baking time but after two hours, mine was ready. Just remember that fruticakes do take time to bake but ovens vary. The cake center  should be springy to the touch.

      8. Let the cake cool in the pan  for 30 minutes and then remove it to a rack to cool down.

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Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Doesn´t it look beautiful? And really, not much work involved!

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When it’s cold, begin feeding it  by making small holes in the top and bottom with a cocktail stick or toothpick. Then pour in 2 to 3 teaspoons of brandy.  Wrap it in parchment paper then in foil. (you can also wrap it in cheesecloth or a white tea towel before wrapping it in foil).  Store in an airtight container and put it in a cool, dry place. Now you can feed it at intervals. I usually put in about a teaspoon or two every two weeks.As I have said, you decide what you want to do! Just remeber that a little alcohol goes a long way!

This goes so well with a coffee or tea. Nothing like a cozy blankee, a tea and a slice of cake. Bring on the cold weather please!

I hope you enjoy this and happy baking! I will post the photo of how it looks when it is served at Christmas! I hope you will do the same if you try this challenge! Looking forward to seeing your goodies!

xxxx Natascha

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