Recipe: Black Christmas Fruitcake
THE MIXED SPICES:
- 5 tsp, ground cinnamon
- 4 tsp, ground allspice
- 3 tsp, ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp, ground ginger
- 1 tsp, ground cloves
THE FRUIT MIXTURE:
- 1/2 lb. prunes
- 1/2 lb. raisins
- 1/2 lb. currants
- 2 ozs. mixed peel
- 1/4 lb. cherries
- 1/2 lb. almonds, chopped
- 1/8 (375-ml) bottle Trinidad rum
- 1 tbsp. angostura bitters
THE BROWNING SAUCE:
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup hot water
THE FRUITCAKE BATTER:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature 11/8 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
- 1 tsp, freshly grated lime rind
- 1 tsp, almond extract
- 1 tsp, vanilla extract
- 1 tsp, mixed spices (see recipe above)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp, baking powder
- 1/4 tsp, ground nutmeg
- Combine all the mixed spice ingredients in a medium bowl and stir with a fork until well blended. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place until needed.
- Chop up all the fruit. Combine the chopped fruit and the almonds in a plastic, resealable bag. Add the brandy, rum, and bitters. Seal the bag and let the mixture soak in the refrigerator at least overnight or as long as one month.
- On the day you intend to serve the fruitcake, begin by making the sauce: Heat the brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar burns. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the hot water; set the pan aside.
- Preheat your oven to 250°F. Grease three 9 1/2 by 5 1/2—inch loaf pans. Line each pan with a double sheet of parchment paper; set aside.
- Prepare the batter: In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. One at a time, add the eggs, stirring until blended after adding each egg. One by one, add the lemon extract, lime rind, almond extract, and vanilla, stirring constantly to ensure an even mix; set aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, mixed spices, and nutmeg into a medium bowl. Gradually add this mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, stirring until blended. Stir in the marinated fruit, and then the browning sauce; mix thoroughly.
- Divide the batter among the three prepared loaf pans. Bake for about 2 1/2 hours. Test with a knife. If it pulls out clean, the fruitcake is done.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer to wire racks. Let stand for io minutes. Then transfer the fruitcakes to serving platters. If you like, drizzle the cakes with more cherry brandy before serving. This fruitcake is anything but boring and bland!
Number of servings (yield): 12
Meal type: breakfast
Culinary tradition: USA (General)