It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas…everywhere you go! The biggest holiday of the year (at least in my book!) is just 10 days away. I've got some shopping to do! And I'm gonna need to bake some more cookies for Santa. Mine seem to have disappeared. MARY!? Hmm…Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons or Chocolate Hug Cookies. That's a toughie!
And while I'm baking, I think I'll whip up Sunday's recipe. A truly delicious fruitcake!
This recipe is prepared with the KitchenAid Professional 9-Speed Digital Hand Mixer with Bag & Attachments (K34571).
2 cups chopped, mixed, dried, and candied fruit that has been macerated and soaked in rum for least 2 weeks
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Set aside.
Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the margarine, shortening, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the half and half, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just incorporated.
Strain the macerated fruit and fold it into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 75–85 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before serving.
Now, rest assured…this is not your grandma's hand-me-down mystery cake or anything like those fruitcakes that make better doorstops than holiday dessert. The base of this recipe is a decadent pound cake with a hint of lemon. You'll love the addition of the rum-soaked fruit (which you needn't soak for two entire weeks if you don't have the time) and, if you like, add your favorite nuts. Almonds, pecans, or walnuts would work beautifully in this recipe. Fold them in when you add the fruit. As I said above, soaking the fruit for two weeks will impart a rich, deep, rum flavor. You just won't have that same intensity with a shorter soaking time. And, you may actually prefer a milder cake, which is fine. Remember, my recipes are your recipes. Make them your own!
Here's a fruitcake- and bread-baking tip from our friend Cheryl Day from Back in the Day Bakery. Thanks to all of you who sent us your baking questions!
Q: When I make breads, like banana bread, cranberry bread, etc.,they always turn sticky on the top. Even though they'renot sticky & are brown when they come out of the oven. It doesn’t seem to matter if I store the bread loosely covered, or in an airtight container, or wrap in foil. Why?
A: It sounds like you're baking your recipes correctly. I would continue to follow the baking times for each recipe and cool completely before placing the bread in a container. There's nothing wrong with a moist, sticky-topped quick bread. Quick breads have ingredients that add moistness (i.e., banana, lemon, cranberry, pumpkin, etc.) and those ingredients make quick bread what it is. You might try storing your bread in a container instead of wrapping it. Another solution would be to add a crumble to the top of your bread. Think a brown sugar-walnut blend on banana bread. It's fun to experiment with different crumbles when making quick breads and it helps to create a nice crunchy, chewy top.
There's a lot to be said for a good fruitcake. But there's also something to be said for a decadent chocolate cake!
You can find that cake in one of Sunday's "Cookbook Corner" selections…Crock Pot Recipe Collection(F09853). The other selection…Kraft Recipe Collectionis available under the same item number and you choose which book you'd like. Kraft brings you 362 easy-to-follow recipes in a hardcover binder and Crock Pot contains 512 recipes solely for that underutilized kitchen appliance. It, too, comes in that same stays-open binder.
We have a big 4-hour show this Sunday to help you wrap up your gift list. And, I'm thrilled to tell you we have our In the Kitchen with David aprons available again this Sunday. Until then, chew on this blog question, foodies…are you giving any gifts of food this holiday season? If so, what? My Fudgy Brownie Gift Mix? A quick bread? Maybe my fruitcake? Tell me all about it. (Maybe that way I won't forget anyone!) See you Sunday at Noon ET.
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