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The Well Engineered Fruitcake

 
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1176
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:26 pm    Post subject: The Well Engineered Fruitcake Reply with quote

if you are looking at fruitcakes recipes, consider those pre-dating WW2. sugar, butter, eggs and other things were rationed during WW2 - which lead to a lot of substitutes, some quite good - some not so good. after WW2 the USA moved into the instant-everything era. post WW2 recipes are frequently "fast easy food" type approaches and frankly the precursor of the famous "X Farms" doorstop type fruitcakes.

some of the ingredients can be difficult to find in the average USA supermarket stocking mostly microwave ready to eat meals. with a little internet research one can make many of the ingredients like candied fruit peels at home

this recipe makes a moist cake - it does not keep forever - about 3 months.
otoh, the fruitcake haters usually come up for another slice.... it's pretty dang good!

just a heads up before you get half way thru the shopping list: it is an expensive cake to make.

this is adapted for quantity from: US Regional Cookbook copyright 1939, 1940 - edited Ruth Berolzheimer; page 237

one-half recipe for one ten inch tube round cake

1.5 c / 310 grams light brown sugar
1.5 c / 340 grams unsalted butter
6 eggs, separated; USDA Large; EU Medium size
1 c. slivered almonds
0.5 c chopped walnuts (my add)
0.5 c chopped macadamia nuts (my add)
1.5 c seeded raisins
1 c currants (zante or other soft type)
1 c / 8 oz / 225 grams candied cherries - see notes
1 c dried figs, chopped
1 c dates, chopped
0.5 c / 4 oz / 115 grams citron
1 c candied pineapple, chopped
0.5 c candied lemon peel
0.5 c candied orange peel
1.5 c / 195 grams sifted AP flour
1 T cinnamon
1 T mace
1 T ground clove
1 T allspice
1 T nutmeg
0.5 T baking soda
0.25 - 0.5 cup / 60-120 ml / bourbon/whiskey/brandy/rum - see notes
( my favorite is 0.5 cup Makers Mark )

Procedure:

Mix the fruits, add booze, fold to loosen sticky fruit clumps, allow to stand 1-2 hours, then add nuts; dredge fruit/nut mixture with about half the flour.

Beat egg whites stiff and set aside
Cream sugar and butter, add well beaten egg yolks slowly.
note: creaming is not just mixing sugar/butter together - take the creaming to the very light yellow stage - it is important in the texture of this cake.

Add all spices / soda to creamed butter/egg mix

Fold beaten egg white into butter/egg mix and
Fold into fruit mix, add remaining flour, blend thoroughly.

Spoon into well buttered pan.
Bake about 4 hrs at 275'F/135'C until skewer comes out clean.
use something to catch butter drips below pan (if it's a two piece pan)

after minimum 20 cooling, run long thin spatula around sides to ensure the sugary bit don't stick too well.

allow to cool for hours and hours; it's dense, it does not cool down in an hour; de-pan.

decorate to desire - whole nuts / cherries on top, powdered sugar, etc.

Pix:
(from a two cake batch)
fruit mix macerating in the booze


The completed batter mix - it is quite stiff


Panned for the oven


the finished product, getting a light dousing of booze



Notes:

Cherries - if you can find both red and green candied cherries, use the color combo.

The Booze -
Many recipes call for (multiple) post bake brushing the finished fruitcake with booze to flavor and moisturize. Using 0.5 cup results in a moist(er) fruitcake and further booze brushing is not needed. However, depending on how 'strong tasting' the booze is, 0.5 cup can be over-powering. for example using a strong dark rum I'd use half-cup rum + water.

my own favorite is Makers Mark; have used VSOP brandy; used a too strong rum once - which is why I mention the half&half idea.....
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