This is my mom’s recipe for a dense fruit cake made with dried fruits and nuts soaked in rum. Depending on how much you enjoy rum-soaked cake, you can soak it in rum and ripen the baked cake anywhere from three days to eight weeks. Apple juice can be substituted for those who prefer non-alcoholic.
Rum and fruit cake
- 3 cups dried chopped nuts. You can use any or all of these: almonds, cashews, walnuts
- 5 cups dried chopped fruits like cranberries, pineapple, currants, plums, cherries, candied citron peel or candy peel
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 3/4 to 1 cup dark rum or apple juice
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dark molasses or burnt sugar syrup, recipe below
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Burnt sugar syrup recipe
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Cook sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, without stirring, until it begins to turn golden brown around the edges. Stir to incorporate melted sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until melted and a deep amber color. Remove from heat and, stirring constantly, gradually add 1/2 cup water (caramel will seize). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a jar and cool. It can be stored for up to two weeks, at room temperature.
Soak the dried fruit and nuts in rum and lime juice for at least 24 hours; store it in an airtight box at room temperature. You can soak them for up to 2 months in advance; store the soaked fruits in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter and flour dust the loaf pan. Line the sides and bottom with parchment paper. Sift the baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and flour together twice. Set aside. Combine the instant coffee powder, a few teaspoons of hot water and molasses together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla together.
Combine the butter mixture with the egg mixture and gently fold until combined.
Pour the flour over the soaked fruit and nuts. Coat all the fruits in the flour. Alternate pouring in little amounts of the flour mixture and molasses. Sprinkle the lemon zest and combine gently with a spatula. The cake mixture will be thick. Pour it into the parchment lined pans, about 2/3 full. Bake at 300 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.
Stick a metal or wooden skewer in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, remove and cool it until itt is warm to the touch. Gently poke the top surface of the cake with a fork. Brush it with extra rum if you like. Wrap the entire cake in cheesecloth. Begin soaking the cake with about 2 tablespoons of rum every day. Always place it in an airtight container.
You can continue to soak the cake for the next 5 to 10 days, depending on how intense you would like the flavor of the cake to be. Then wrap the entire cake and cheesecloth in parchment paper, and store in an airtight container at room temperature for a minimum of three days, or up to eight weeks.
Makes two 8-inch loaf pans or two 8-inch round cakes.
Again, aging the cake will entirely depend on how you like it. Happy holidays and seasons greetings. Enjoy!
Reshma Seetharam’s blog, My Foodarama, can be found at www.reshmaseetharam.com.