14 December 2010

Black Fruitcake

For the fruit:

3/4 cups whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped

1 3/4 cups dried cherries, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups dark rum, such as Myers’s, plus 4 tablespoons for brushing

1 1/2 cups ruby port

1 1/4 cups dried apricots, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup candied orange peel, coarsely chopped

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup burnt sugar

1 cup whole raw pistachios, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup candied ginger, coarsely chopped

For the fruit:

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart container with a tightfitting lid and mix well. Cover tightly and store in a dark, cool, dry place for 1 week.

For the cake:
Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with butter; set aside.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Set aside.
Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and return the mixer to medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, letting each mix in fully before adding the next. Add vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and return the mixer to low speed.
Add flour mixture, macerated fruit and nuts along with any unabsorbed liquid, and burnt sugar, and mix until just combined. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans (the pans will be completely full).
Bake until a cake tester comes out clean (the cake centers will be very moist), about 2 hours.
Let cool 30 minutes in the pans on a wire rack. Turn cakes out onto the rack, and brush each with 2 tablespoons dark rum. Cool completely before slicing and eating, or aging.
To age, store each cooled cake in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature for up to 2 months. A dark cupboard or pantry is ideal, but do not refrigerate, as the moisture level will change the texture.

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I eat your comments with jam and butter.