When people mention fruitcake, I have visions of holiday store displays with stacks of fruitcake weeks before Christmas. Not very appetizing, in my opinion. My sister-in-law described it the best. She said it was a “grandma cake.” You would visit with abuelita during the holidays and they would bring out this mystery cake wrapped in layers of plastic or foil paper. For today’s recipe, besides the traditional candied fruit, I added some of my favorite ingredients like coconut, pineapple juice and rum! The rum is optional, but does give the fruitcake a real holiday feel. I chose not to add any nuts to the recipe since I would be sharing it as gifts for friends. The signature red and green cherries are a must, but you could add any of your favorite dried fruits, such as blueberries, cherries and apricots as well. After trying this homemade fruitcake, it has changed my mind completely on how good fruitcake really can be. Happy Holidays!
Yields 10 to 12 servings
Candied and Dry Fruit:
4 oz candied red cherries
4 oz candied green cherries
4 oz candied orange peel
4 oz candied citron
4 oz candied pineapple
1 cup raisins
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup aged rum, plus more when cakes are baked
1/4 cup coconut rum, plus more when cakes are baked
Tips~ After zesting the orange, you could combine the fresh orange juice witht he pineapple juice and add it to the recipe.
For the Cake Batter:
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
Zest of 1 large orange
4 large eggs
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup pineapple juice
You Will Also Need:
4 small or 2 large loaf pans. You could also use a bundt cake pan.
Tips~ A little rum goes a long way, so just drizzle a little on top before storing overnight. If you opt not to use the rum, you could prepare a glaze instead. Combine 2/3 cup pineapple juice with 2/3 cup powdered sugar. Add glaze before serving.
1. In a large bowl, combine all of the candied fruit with raisins, coconut and both kinds of rum. Stir well to combine and soak for 30 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour your pans, set aside. Combine the flour and cocoa powder, set aside.
3. In another bowl, cream together the butter with both sugars. Mix in the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest. Mix in one egg at a time. Gradually mix in the flour mixture, alternating with the 1 cup of pineapple juice. I like to mix in 1/4 of the flour, then mix, then add 1/4 of juice, mixing in between each add in. Fold all of the candied fruit mixture including any liquid/rum into the batter until well incorporated.
4. Divide the batter into the loaf pans. Bake for 40 minutes, rotate the pans and bake for another 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center of cakes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Carefully remove from pans and wrap each with foil paper, leaving open side up. Place the loaves back into the pans (open side up) and drizzle a little of each rum on top of each cake, just enough to wet the tops. Seal the foil closed and let the cakes sit overnight. The next day, wrap the loaves tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Tips~ For gift giving, wrap the loaves in several layers of plastic wrap, place in a vintage loaf pan with a nice bow.