Canadian Thanksgiving was yesterday. Today it’s time to start making Christmas fruit cakes!
Last week I tried buying candied fruit – my usual Bulk Barn had none! Today, I checked out the store online, found another outlet – they still had “regular” candied fruit and red cherries (no “Delux” fruit mix, or green cherries, or candied pineapple). That’s OK, I bought extra red cherries, candied lemon/lime peel, Thompson raisins, dried cranberries, and date bits.
Preparing the fruit:
- at least 2 lbs of mixed candied fruit (regular or deluxe)
- 1 lb of red/green candied cherries
- 1 lb Thompson raisins
- whatever other dried fruit you like: dried cranberries, chopped dates, chopped apricots, etc.
- a 500ml jar of orange marmalade (you could use grape jelly or strawberry jam) – DON’T leave this out
Next stop the liquor store to pick up a quart of dark rum. After some consultation with one of the guys who works there I chose a locally made dark rum he assured me would be “flavourful”.
- ~400ml of dark rum (I used Fortress Dark Rum – smelled good!)
I came home, dug out my 27 litre tupperware covered bowl, added all the fruit plus a 500ml jar of good orange marmalade, then poured in half of that bottle of rum (about 400ml).
I mixed the whole thing using a strong wooden spoon (the mixture is VERY heavy), sealed the lid on, and now I wait. Tonight I will flip the bowl over onto the top, tomorrow morning I’ll flip it back to sit on it’s bottom, I’ll keep turning the whole thing twice a day for the better part of a week. By the end of the week there is no longer any liquid rum – it’s all be absorbed into the fruit!
That gives me more or less a week to pick up the other ingredients – butter, eggs, bittersweet baking chocolate, molasses (none left in the house); I have good vanilla, almond and orange extract, white and brown sugar and flour (although I’ll probably stop at Bulk Barn and pick a bit more of each of those just to be sure I have enough).
We could do a “bake-along”. You can find the full instructions here if you’re ready to tackle some early Christmas preparation.
The “recipe” produces a very flavourful moist fruitcake, if I say so myself. I say “recipe” in quotes because the amounts of fruit and ingredients for the batter are just guidelines – this is a VERY forgiving recipe – you want enough batter to coat all the fruit but not a whole lot more. The amount of fruit I’ve got soaking is going to give me 10 2lb cakes + 6-10 small loaf cakes. Plenty to give away.
BTW just halve the amounts of fruit above (and use the amounts in the actual recipe for dry and wet ingredients) and you’ll get a reasonable amount of cake. I use the amounts of fruit above, and double the wet and dry ingredients! For me a fruit cake (plus something I’ve sewn or knit) constitutes my Christmas giving, so I make a large number of cakes.