Unfortunately I missed last week's official inaugural recipe which was the Kouign Amann. You can read all about the other bakers' adventures in Marie's round-up post. But I won't let that spoil the fun for this week's English Dried Fruit Cake. I don't recall ever eating fruit cake. It's usually too dense for my liking or doused with some sort of alcohol. And since not a lot of people speak kindly of said cake, I didn't miss eating it or bother baking it.
And then Rose developed this fruit cake recipe. I was immediately intrigued by the unusual batter preparation technique which has you cook some of the ingredients on the stove.
|Does that look like wet sand?|
One bonus: no mixer required. Everything is done by hand. It's also easy and quick to make. I was heating up leftovers for dinner while whipping up the batter for this cake. One more thing... Even with all my substitutions and not using any of the recommended cake pans, it turned out awesome!
|English Dried Fruit cake baked in my new vintage Bundt pan :o)|
I must be a cookbook author's worst nightmare with my substitutions up the ying/yang. Since this cake was going to accompany me to work on Monday morning, I decided to leave out the pecans due to nut allergies. That's when the idea of doubling the dried fruit popped into my head. I was slightly concerned that this would increase the amount of liquid in the cake (due to soaking the fruit) and considered adding more flour, but then decided against it. I figured that a longer baking time would do the trick (and it did).
As for the dried fruit, I used a mixture of pre-chopped dates, dried cherries, craisins, and golden raisins. The apple I peeled and the chopped at the very last minute which allowed me to add it straight into the sugar/butter/egg mixture (I skipped the lemon juice).
I recently purchased a really nice vintage Bundt pan by Hillware. As I was deciding which pan to use (9" x 13" or 8" round pans), I decided to bake in my new Bundt pan because it has such a festive look to it. With the potential of having too much liquid in my batter due to the doubling of the dried fruit, I figured that a Bundt pan could only help since it has a hole in the middle which means less chance of the cake over-baking in the outer edges while trying to get the middle baked.
The rum was optional, which was great. I know that if Rose says it's optional, I can omit it without any negative consequences.
|Ready for the oven!|
After a 50 minute stay in the oven, the cake came out a deep golden brown. It smelled delicious and so did my kitchen. I cooled in the garage for about an hour (one advantage of winter in MN). I sliced a couple pieces for hubby and myself before wrapping the cake tightly and putting it in my domed cake carrier.
|Deep golden brown and delicious!|
|An inside view. I love the different colors of the fruit. Bon appetit!|
- Who knew fruit cake could taste so good!!!
- Hubby enjoyed the cake a lot. He liked the variety of the fruits used. One comment he had was that the cake was a bit too sweet. He gave it an 8.5 out of 10 rating.
- My first slice was soooo good. This was after the cake had cooled down but the edges of the cake was still a little crunchy. The interior was beautifully studded with the fruit. The cake was firm but not overly dense and it was wonderfully moist. I too agree with hubby that it's a tad too sweet. That may be because of the extra fruit I added which adds additional sweetness to the cake.Either way, this one goes on the "bake again" list!
- The cake went over REALLY well at work. I received lots of compliments. Everyone complimented on how moist it was. Nobody said it was too sweet (I asked a couple people). One person in particular said it best: "I don’t normally like fruit cake because they are too dry and have nuts in them. Your fruit cake was delicious!".
- One comment I had is with regards to adding the dried fruits to the flour mixture. Some of the flour remained attached to the fruit and every once in a while you'd see a minuscule white piece attached to a piece of fruit, like in the picture below. I've seen it in other bakers' pictures too. I'm wondering if it's better to add the fruit to the sugar/butter/egg mixture next time. I'm splitting hairs her, I know, but that's the geek and perfectionist in me talking :o)
|You see those white particles underneath the craisin?|