Updated: February 3, 2013 1:15AM
Fruitcakes are a holiday treat that people either love or love to hate. For those who enjoy this holiday tradition, there are many recipes out there if you want to make your own. Interestingly, those who make this spiced cake use the same recipe year after year, just because the cake suits their taste buds.
When researching fruitcake, it is suggested the origin is English, but there seems to be some doubt. What sources do agree on is the characteristics. Fruitcake is traditionally a heavy spiced cake that includes lots of dried and/or candied fruits and nuts. In fact, there is not much batter in the recipe, just enough to hold the fruit and nuts together.
Often fruitcakes include some “spirits” — either in soaking the fruit before baking or added to the batter. Some also wrap fruitcakes in cheesecloth soaked with brandy and/or wine for a little more flavor. Fruitcake seems to improve with age and this helps to bring out flavors. Often it is made one month before serving.
Recipes for fruitcakes include light or white fruitcake, dark, golden, etc. Dark fruitcake often has molasses in the recipe.
Baking time for fruitcakes is a lower-than-normal temperature. Many recipes found were at 275-300 F. With this lower temperature comes a longer baking time; 2 to 3 hours is common. Because of the longer time, it is recommended that a shiny or glass pan be used, rather than a dark pan, to reduce getting the edges too dark.
Pans are usually lined with wax or parchment paper to make removal easier.
ORANGE SLICE ‘FRUIT’ CAKE
MAKES 1 LARGE OR 5 SMALL LOAVES TO SERVE 50
31/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound candy orange slices, cut up
8 ounces chopped dates
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
11/4 cups flaked coconut
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup orange juice
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
Combine cutup candy orange slices, dates, nuts and coconut in large bowl. Add 1/2 cup flour/salt mixture to dried fruit mixture; stir well to coat with flour.
In large bowl, mix butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar while beating, to cream well. Add 4 eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each egg.
Combine soda with buttermilk. To egg mixture, add buttermilk/soda alternately with flour/salt mixture. Blend well. Lastly, add fruit/nut mixture to batter and stir well. Pour into large tube pan that has been greased and floured. Bake at 300 F for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove from oven.
Combine orange juice and sifted powdered sugar, mix well, and pour over hot cake. Allow to cool. Cover and let stand in refrigerator overnight before removing from pan. May make 5 smaller loaves if desired. Reduce cooking time to 1-11/4 hours; test to be sure fruitcakes are done.
Nutrition per serving: 207 calories, 2 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 8 grams fat, 22 milligrams cholesterol, 98 milligrams sodium.
Exchanges: 2 starch/carbohydrates, 11/2 fat.