Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pearl's Southampton Fruitcake (Classic Fruitcake)

Pearl's Southampton Fruitcake (Classic Fruitcake)
Source: Maida Heatter's Cakes (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2011 ed.), pg. 152.

I've never attempted a fruitcake before so this is a first for me. First Michael said "why spend all that money on this - no one likes fruitcake!" Well, he still has not tried the finished product. I just took a bite after letting it sit in the refrigerator for one week after baking. It is good, very rich and boozy! A small portion is enough to satisfy because it is very rich. I think fruitcake is something that grows on you. I found myself craving another bite the next day. 

First of all, I decided to cut the ingredients in half - after all, I don't really think I need 16-18 lbs. of cake. If you do want that much, the recipe as written makes that much, enough for 4, 5 or 6 cakes.  If you need the full recipe, you can find it here on the Saveur website.

Making this cake is a time-consuming process and must be planned well in advance. I usually think of making fruitcake every year around Christmas time, which is too late to start. This year, I started early, however, I could have started even earlier.

The following is a list of the fruits I used and keep in mind that the recipe as written in the book doubles this. You can substitute other types of fruit for those that you cannot find (I can never find currants). Also, you can buy containers of ready-made "fruitcake mix" which consists of chopped lemon peel, orange peel and other ingredients. This makes it much easier and not as expensive (although this is an expensive cake!).

Phase 1 - Marinating the fruit

6 1/2 cups of fruitcake mix or a mixture of any of the following: currants, pitted dates, dried apricots, dried prunes, dried figs, candied ginger, candied lemon rind, candied orange rind, candied cherries, candied citron and candied pineapple. (The dates, apricots, figs, prunes and other large pieces of fruit should be chopped)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
1/4 cup Grand Mariner

(These amounts can be doubled)

Place the fruit in a large bowl.

Add the brandy (or cognac) and the Grand Mariner.

Stir to mix well.

Store this mixture in an airtight glass or plastic container for one week or more (the recipe doesn't say it has to be stored in the refrigerator but a lot of similar recipes do. I've opted to let mine sit at room temperature). From time to time, shake the container from side to side and up and down to redistribute the marinate.

Phase 2 - Baking the Cake

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 TBS. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. mace
1 tsp. powdered instant coffee or expresso
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 eggs
3/4 cup molasses
3 1/2 cups pecan halves
3 1/2 cups walnut halves or large pieces
Additional cognac and/or Grand Marnier (to be used after the cake has baked)

Preheat oven to 225 (if any hotter, the cakes will burn). Butter the sides only of two 9 or 10 inch cake pans (the pans should be at least 1 1/2 inches deep). Use a baking liner or cut aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the pans. Butter the liners or foil as well.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, cloves, cinnamon, mace and instant coffee (or expresso) and set aside.

Cream the butter.

Add the brown sugar.
Mix well until it is light in color.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture will look curdled.
Lower the mixer speed and add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with...
the molasses.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Now it is time to add the fruit to the mixture.
Add the nuts.
Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Divide the batter evenly among the pans and pat down well to eliminate air pockets. The batter may come all the way to the top of the pans.
Ready to bake! Bake for 5  hours, reversing the pans once or twice during baking. Make sure the oven is at 225 - use an oven thermometer if you are unsure. After removing the cakes from the oven, let them cool for about 30 minutes on wire racks. Then carefully invert and remove from pans (you may need to take a sharp knife and cut around the perimeter of the pan to release).
Allow the cakes to cool completely. Then brush them with more cognac or Grand Marnier (or even better, use a mixture of both liquors). Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for at least one week. Every few days, take them out and brush them again with the liquors. The cakes can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen. (You may still brush them with liquor  - if frozen, allow them to stand at room temperature an hour before applying). 

If you are giving the cakes as gifts, tell the recipient to keep the cake in the refrigerator or freeze. It should be cut when it is very cold.


Cyndia Montgomery said...

I can't believe you actually put in print that Michael is usually right. :-)
I love a good fruitcake and am interested to see how this one comes out. So many are dry, hard and just BAD!

Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking said...

I think if anyones fruitcake is going to be amazing, it will be Maida Heatter's. I'm super curious how this turns out!

So how long does it take to make in total? Sounds yummy so far!

Zespri Golden kiwi fruit said...

I have actually never had fruit cake, but I'd love to taste yours!! Yum!!

Unknown said...

So glad I found your blog. They photos and your comments are amazing. Thank you. I love all her recipes and have been using them for 30 years! I'm always shocked at the all the disparaging comments fruitcake receives because, of course, the cake like any other depends on the quality of the ingredients and the skill and care of the baker. I can't understand why fruitcake is always blamed for the indifferent, bad, or lazy bakers who attempt the recipe. I don't believe any other dessert has been so maligned!
That said, I have to share a darling comment by the famed cookbook writer, Jane Grigson, who said that they loved to enjoy a nice slice of fruitcake on a cold summer day. That's English weather for you, and here in the American northwest, we can have some pretty cold days so I truly relate. Also wished to share, I have not seen Maida's spectacular apricot tart *made with dried apricots turned into a kind of thick peserve filling. It is beautiful and lasts days without getting soggy. It is soooo delicious.

Phillip Oliver said...

Thank you! It is odd to hear of someone eating fruitcake during the summer but there certainly should not be a reason against it! I still have some of this in the freezer. Maybe I can try some in the summer!

I will have to look up the apricot tart and give it a try. The pastry recipes intimidate me but I know that Maida would make it painless.

Thomas Braylen said...
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