Rum and brandy are frequently featured in holiday fruitcakes, but here's a cake for people with a taste for beer. A dark Guinness beer is used in the batter, and then the finished cake can be soaked with it to taste. The hearty stout complements the sweet fruit.
Despite the name, any stout will work.
Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake
- 3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, in small chunks
- 2/3 cup dried currants
- 2/3 cup golden raisins
- 2/3 cup good-quality candied citrus peel
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Guinness or another stout, plus more for serving (optional)
- 4 large eggs
- Confectioners' sugar (optional)
- Unsweetened whipped cream or salted butter (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (If you have a convection oven, turn off the fan.)
Use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease a 9-inch round cake pan with high sides and a removable bottom. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper and grease it with the spray.
Sift the flour with the spices into a big bowl. Use a fork to quickly rub the butter chunks into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add the currants, raisins, candied peel, lemon zest and brown sugar, and mix well.
Beat the Guinness into the eggs and trickle the resulting mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 1 hour. Lower the oven temperature to just under 300 degrees and loosely cover the cake with aluminum foil. Bake for another hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
Let the cake cool on a rack. To serve, sift confectioners' sugar over the top, if desired, or prick some holes in the cake and drizzle a little Guinness over it. Serve with whipped cream or salted butter.
Adapted from "Home Made Winter," by Yvette van Boven (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2012).
Tested by Jim Webster.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.