Rum and brandy flavor this traditional fruitcake from chef Ciji Wagner. There's not a neon-colored candied fruit to be seen.
Make Ahead: The cake is at its peak after 3 weeks, but it can be stored for up to 6 weeks.
Yield: Makes one 10-inch loaf or Bundt cake
- 1 1/2 cups dried currants
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried unsulphured unsweetened apricots
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried pineapple
- 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges (3 tablespoons zest, 2/3 to 1 cup juice)
- 1 cup golden or dark rum, plus golden rum or brandy for brushing the cake
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice or brandy
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted (see NOTE)
- Brandy or golden rum
Combine the currants, cranberries, cherries, apricots, pineapple, ginger and orange zest in a medium bowl. Stir in the rum and let the mixture macerate overnight or up to 2 days, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10-inch loaf pan or Bundt pan with nonstick oil-and-flour spray.
Transfer the fruit and its macerating liquid to a large pot and add the sugar, butter, orange juice, apple juice or brandy, and the spices. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and cook, with the liquid barely bubbling, until the mixture has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl and sift it into the fruit mixture. Stir to combine. Fold in the pecans, making sure not to overmix the batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is still hot, lightly brush the top with brandy or rum. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then remove it from the pan and transfer to an airtight container.
Check the cake every other day. If it seems dry, lightly brush more brandy or rum on top. Continue checking and soaking the cake until you serve it or give it away.
NOTE: To toast the pecans, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350-degree oven, shaking the sheet occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully; nuts burn quickly.
Adapted from Ciji Wagner, executive chef at Drafting Table near Logan Circle.
Tested by Toni Sandys.
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