Christmas! Such a wonderful time of the year! This is when we get together with loved ones, give and receive gifts, and basically just enjoy each other’s company, we stay among our loved ones, whether it is family or friends. It is the time when we enjoy home cooked hearty meals, and it is when calories do not count. One food item that is a recurring concept no matter where you are in the world (during Christmas) is fruit cake. Even though some people might turn their nose up on this Christmas tradition, it is one that nobody can ignore. It is a tradition after all! But if you are maybe to looking to change things up this Christmas, then here are a few fruit cakes with a twist.
1. Orange and Cranberry Fruit cake
2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup whiskey
1 3/4 cups candied red and green cherries
1 cup unsalted butter
Zest of one orange
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
3 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1. Combine all of the dried fruit except with the whiskey in a mixing bowl. Do not mix the Candied dried cherries in this mixture. Cover the bowl and spin it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, stir, then set aside to cool. You may wish to keep this mixture overnight or even 24 hours to really let the alcohol soak in.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Lightly grease two loaf pans with butter and dust lightly with flour, you may also wish to use baking spray.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and zest together until well combined, make sure the sugar has really rubbed in with the zest. Then with a sieve, take out the remaining excess sugar.
Mix together the butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Beat in the eggs, try to do this one at time.
Alternately, pour the flour and the orange juice
Add the fruit mixed with alcohol and the candied cherries to the mixture
Pour the batter in the greased and dusted pans
Bake the cakes for 60 to 75 minutes, depending on the size of your baking dish. When done, it should be a rich brown color on the outside and golden inside, and an inserted toothpick or skewer should come out clean.
Take out the cakes from the oven, let it rest for a few minutes before turning it over on a cooling rack, brush the still warm cakes with a dark liquor of your choice, like whiskey or rum.
When it has completely cooled, wrap them well and let the cakes rest at least 24 hours before serving. You could keep it for a month too, in which case you would have to keep brushing the cake with whiskey or rum every week.
2. Cream cheese fruitcake
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
2 tsp of baking powder
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3/4-1 cup sugar (This can be done according to preference)
1 tsp of salt
3 cups dried fruit & nut mix
1/2 cup flour
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cream the butter and sugar together till it becomes light and airy. Then in this mixture, add the cream cheese. Next add in the eggs, preferably one at a time. In this, add the vanilla extract, this is your wet mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients.
Now for the fruit & nut mixture, chop up various dried fruits and nuts of your choice. You may wish to use different nuts, raising, candied orange peels, and pitted dates, or anything you like really. Now measure 3 cups of the dried fruit mixture and mix it with the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. This will ensure that all the dried fruits do not sink to the bottom of the tray while baking.
Now Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, do it in a folding motion so that you do not overwork the batter. This is going to be quite a thick batter. In this mix the fruit and nut mixture. Do not over mix this batter at all. Pour in to greased and lightly dusted loaf tin. Make sure the batter is leveled evenly.
Put the loaf tins in the oven and let it bake for close to 60-70 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean. If you see that the outside of the cake is browning too fast, cover the cake in tin foil and continue baking. It is actually advised to bake this cake on a medium low temperature to get a even color on all sides, and insides done perfectly.
3. Vegan fruitcake covered with chocolate ganache.
What makes this cake special and unique? It is completely vegan amongst it being:
Dried fruits, nuts and spices
1 cup dried fruits, chopped, e.g. apricots, dates, figs (160 g)
½ cup raisins (80 g)
½ cup nuts, chopped e.g. cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecan nuts (75 g)
¼ cup rum (60 ml) OR 1/4 cup orange juice (60 ml) and some drops of rum flavor
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 thumb fresh ginger chopped
Dry ingredients for the cake
1 cup white rice flour (160 g)
½ cup + 2 tbsp tapioca flour (75 g)
¼ cup garbanzo flour (chickpea flour) (33 g)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Wet ingredients for the cake
2 small/medium sized bananas (200 g)
½ cup coconut milk (120 ml)
1/3 cup maple syrup or any other liquid sweetener (80 ml / 110 g) (use less if you add more dried fruits)
3 tsp lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp coconut oil melted (28 g)
3 flax eggs (3 ground flax seeds + 6 tbsp water)
3 drops each of orange- and lemon essential oil (optional)
3 tbsp peanut flour (see recipe notes)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3-4 tbsp maple syrup (depending how sweet you want it)
2-3 tbsp water OR orange juice (see recipe notes)
2 tbsp coconut oil melted
1 pinch of salt
Chop the dried fruits and nuts and soak them with the raisins and spices in rum overnight or if you are running short of time then at least two hours
Put the dry ingredients in a big bowl and stir until it is lump free. You can use 2 cups of any gluten free flour blend
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is combined
Add the soaked dried fruits, raisins and nuts and mix
Take a baking dish and wither butter it and dust it with gluten free flour, or line it with parchment paper
Bake in the oven at 390 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost clean .Check after 40 minutes with a skewer to make sure you do not over cook it
Mix all ingredients for the chocolate glaze with a whisk in a bowl and once the cake is cool, pour the chocolate glaze on top
4. Fruit Cake portion sized cookies
1 cup walnuts
½ cup almonds
½ cup pecans
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup candied cherries
2 cups candied pineapple
1 cup dried cranberries
¾ cup all purpose flour, divided
¼ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 whole egg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a food processor, pulse each nut separately so that they are all equal and pea sized
Do the same with the fruits, as in pulse the four fruits separately, one at a time to make them the same size. Then add to nuts in bowl.
Add ½ cup of the flour to the fruit and nuts and toss and mixture until well incorporated
In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar
Add the egg and combine thoroughly so that the mixture is smooth and lump free
Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and vanilla essence and combine well together.
Pour this mixture over the fruit and nuts
Butter and dust four cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper and spray with non stick spray
Divide mixture into 48 one ounce using a small scoop, and place 12 in each pan.
Bake for 20 minutes, ensure that the bottoms of the cookies do not get too browned. Bake the cookies in batches to ensure that they come out well.
Remove and place on a cooling rack
Seal in an airtight container to store for a long period of time
5. The Perfect Classic fruit cake
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped dates
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped glazed cherries
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour (divided into 1/4 cup and 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
Grated rind of one orange
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 ounces Brandy (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to325 degrees F and prepare loaf pan: either butter and dust with flour or line it with parchment paper for easy removal of baked cake
2 In a separate bowl, mix together sour cream and baking soda well until combined
3 mix the dates, raisins, cherries with flour so that all the dried fruits are well covered in the flour
4 Whisk together the butter and sugar until well creamed. Mix in the egg, the orange rind, and finally the well combined mix of the sour cream/baking soda
Add the flour and the salt and mix well. Combine fruit and nut mixture with all of the creamed ingredients and mix well to ensure that the fruit and nuts are distributed evenly
5. Pour the batter in your already prepared cake tin, divide in two or three separate cake tins to ensure that the cake does not over flow. Since we want a nice brownn color on the outside and a rich golden color inside, it is advised to bake this cake on a low to medium temperature. You can also use a bran marie to bake this in which you will fill a tray with water and place your baking dish inside the tray, this will ensure it is baked slowly and properly, and there are no chances of the cake burning. If not, you can also cover the cake with tin foil if the outside is getting browned too fast. Patience is the key here. Ensure that you keep checking on the cake, and it should bake till a skewer inserted comes out clean, and the cake is evenly colored from all sides.
6. Cool on a rack, once done. When it is still warm to touch, pour over a tablespoon or two of rum or brandy or whiskey, this ensures a smooth and rich cake. If you wish to store it for a long time, wrap tightly with cling foil and then aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container. You will have to keep spooning some form of dark alcohol every week to ensure the stays moist.