Update: Use the banyo maria or Baño Maria (or bake steaming) to prevent over-drying of your fruit cake.
It’s the time of the year when one needs to plan for the holidays. As early as September, I already know what to bake for Christmas. A childhood memory that never fails to remind me of the Christmas season is Fruitcake. I used to bake a lot of fruitcake in the past but the girls never really got around to acquiring a taste for it. They preferred the Gingerbread Man Cookies because of the story behind it , after I bake the first batch. It must have been the empty nest that inspired me to start baking Fruitcake. The memory of my mom baking this every Christmas season gave me so much comfort. The aroma of the fruit cake adds to the festive spirit of the season.
I am also surprised that more and more people are raving for fruitcake. I see it in my facebook wall. In the past, friends hated it when they were given a fruitcake. It was only last year that I started baking two batches. Two good friends received my fruitcake because I was sure they appreciated fruitcake. This year, I showed the fruitcakes that I baked in Facebook, and I was again surprised that some even wanted to buy. Maybe next year, I will bake a few for sale. At least, I will be prepared to buy the ingredients at wholesale prices.
Anyway, fruitcake flavor is best when it has been aged for a few months in a cool place (preferably the refrigerator in the Philippines). Ideally, one month of storage is a to bring out the best flavors. I know others age starting January. I should try it too.
Fruitcakes taste better with age. This is called “ripening.”
For those of you who want to bake Fruitcakes for the Holidays, here is a recipe which I call Golden Fruitcake. I’ve modified this based from my mom’s original fruitcake recipe. My Golden Fruitcake does not have a strong taste of brandy nor is it too sweet. Anyway, there’s a lot of preparation so make sure you run down the list carefully.
Here is my Golden Fruitcake recipe
Prepare 2 loaf pans (a 8.5×4.5 pan) or 5 loaf pans (6 x 3 pan) or a combination of both
I buy most of my ingredients at Chocolate Lovers in Quezon City (see Facebook Page)
1 Cup butter (I use Golden Crown)
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
4 large eggs (1 cup) or 5 medium eggs
3 cups all purpose four
1/2 cups flour (to dredge fruits and nuts)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
5 Tablespoon prune juice
3 Tablespoons Molasses
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (mix in molasses)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups nuts (Combination of walnuts, pecan, cashew, pili or almond slivers)
1 1/2 cups dates
1 1/2 cups fruit glaze (combination of local and imported fruit glaze)
1/2 cup cherry brandy
Extra Cherries, fruit glaze,nuts for decorating on top of cake
Cherry brandy to brush top of the cake (use wine or even a fruit juice of your choice)
1. Soak fruits in 1/2 cup cherry brandy overnight.
2. Drain the fruits for 1 hour. Set aside.
3. Dredge fruit and nuts with 1/2 cup flour so they won’t sink in batter. Shake off excess flour and use in the recipe.
Preparing the Baking pan
1. Don’t use waxpaper.
2. Use thick cellphane (1 piece only) and use enough to cover the cake after baking.
3. You can also use aluminum. More messy but more sure.
1. Heat oven to slow.
2. Cream Shortening and add sugar slowly until fluffy.
3. Beat in egg one at a time, beating after each addition until light.
4. Blend Flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg.
5. Stir in alternately with milk, molasses, juices and vanilla beginning and ending with flour.
6. With 1/2 cup flour. add to fruit mixture.
7. The batter is then mixed to the fruits. Add the nuts on top of the batter.
8. Put batter in cellophane lined or aluminum lined pans (4 pans)
9. Bake for one (1 1/2) hour to 2 hours at 300 F. ( But do check the temperature based on the pan you use. Never bake beyond 325 F)
IMPORTANT: To prevent dryness in the fruit cake, use the banyo maria. Place the pans in a larger pan containing an inch of water, the result of which is bake-steaming the fruit cake batter.
10. At 45 minutes baking time, remove pans from oven and decorate top with cherries, nuts and fruits.
11. Cover pan with overlapping aluminum foil to prevent burning.
12. Bake one hour or so until done. Test for doneness by placing a metal/wooden skewer in center of cake. If it comes out clean, cake is done. Be careful not to over bake.
13. Always cool fruitcakes completely in pan and remove when cold.
- Keep cellophane or aluminum intact with the cake
- After baking and the cake has cooled down, brush the top of the cake with cherry brandy
- Wrap the whole cake with the overlapping cellophane or aluminum , then more aluminum foil to cover the whole cake ending with colored cellophane.
1. It’s important to drain the fruit mix for 1 hour. This is because alcohol destroys the cake batter.
2. Nuts are not placed in the batter; rather it is placed ON TOP of the batter. I still mix in the buts anyway. I use a combination of nuts.
3. Never use peanuts but do use pili, cashew, walnuts, or black walnuts.
4. The batter is mixed to the fruits so that the emulsion in the batter is not destroyed.
1. Once a week, brush the cakes with more liquor/cherry brandy. (or wrap the fruit cake with cheese cloth soaked in liquor)
2. Seal the cakes in plastic wrap or in plastic storage bags.
Yield: 2 loaf pans (a 8.5×4.5″ pan)
I have 5 recipes for fruitcake but based on my past experience, the above recipe gave me the best results.