A few weeks ago, when Husband went to wine tasting boot camp, he came home raving about the fruitcake the Master Sommelier's wife had made. I was skeptical. Raving about a fruitcake? But both of us find fruitcake to be pretty horrifying, so I took his word for it. He begged, pleaded, and fretted, and finally she sent the recipe.
Husband doesn't do a lot of baking, but the cake turned out beautifully, nonetheless (as you can see). He did learn a few baker's secrets along the way, such as: it is much better to crack your eggs into a bowl and then add them one at a time, versus accidentally dropping the whole egg, shell and all, into the mixer with the paddle running (sorry babe, but I so rarely get to poke fun at you).
I can't say for sure, because the cake was only just baked last night, but I imagine it gets better after a day or so. There is a lot of moisture in the cake, and it takes a long time to bake, just to let you know before you start in on the project late at night.
Vanessa's Totally Delicious, will Make You A Convert, Fruitcake - makes a Bundt Pan - about 12-15 servings
5 cups different dried fruits chopped (we used candied kumquats, cherries, cranberries, figs, and pineapple)
2 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
Enough brandy (we used red wine) to cover the fruit
1 ½ c butter at room temp.
2 ½ c sugar
8 eggs at room temp.
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
3 cups cake flour, sifted before measuring
2 cups chopped, toasted nuts (we used walnuts)
Combine the fruits (chopped if large, such as the figs) and ginger and cover with the alcohol of your choice. Place in the fridge overnight or until the fruits are plumped. When you are ready to make the cake, drain them and squeeze out extra moisture with paper towels. Reserve the liquid.
Preheat oven to 325. Brush a (10 cup) Bundt pan with melted butter, the coat with flour. Tap the pan to remove excess flour.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about 7 minutes, until fluffy. Add the sugar and continue creaming until fluffy again, about 4 minutes. add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add the vanilla and salt. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour (don't overmix!). Using a wooden spoon, fold in the fruit and nuts until fully incorporated. Spoon the batter into the pan, making sure the top is even. Bake about 1 hour and 50 minutes (it took over 2 hours for Husband) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and brush about 2 tbsp. brandy (we didn't have brandy, so we used a late harvest pinot gris; any alcohol would be good) over the cake. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and carefully lift off the pan. Brush the entire cake with brandy or whatever again and cool completely, when the cake is cooled, wrap it in plastic and foil and refrigerate. You can continue to brush it with booze every day until consumed.
This is really tasty with coffee for breakfast, a fact to which I can personally attest. Husband was baking into the wee hours of the morning.