Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Moist and Boozy Fruitcake (Martha Stewart)

I have never baked a Christmas fruit cake or pudding before. When I saw this recipe, Moist and Boozy Fruitcake at Martha Stewart website, I thought that this seems to be an exciting cake to bake and would love to make these as little gifts for my friends and colleagues. 
Like most fruit cakes, these cakes are expensive and time-consuming to bake. Just the premium dried fruits and the mid-range port itself had cost me more than AUD$40. Plus more than 3 hours of slow-baking... I was crossing my fingers very badly, hoping that this costly and time-consuming cake recipe will work well for me.

As I was afraid that I might over-bake these cakes, I had check them regularly while they were baking. To my surprise, in regardless of the sizes and thickness of the cakes, they actually took the same amount of baking time (3 1/2 hours) for the cake tester inserted to come out clean! When the cakes were cooled, I was excited and tasted a slice... Then, spat out a chewy bit! I was totally shocked to find the cake a little too tough to chew. At this disappointment moment, I was in state of asking myself: "What I have done wrong?"...

Fortunately, nothing is wrong. As I was about to throw away these cakes, part of my gut feeling told me not to do it. After a week of allowing my cakes to stand in the fridge, the cakes revived! Originally, all fruitcakes should stand in room temperature from 3 days up to a few months but I was afraid that the warming Melbourne weather might damage the cakes and decided to stand mine in the fridge. And, it is true that the longer the fruitcakes stand, the better the flavours and texture develop. These pudding-like Christmas cakes are indeed moist and boozy to enjoy. Unlike most fruitcakes, these cake taste more like Christmas puddings to me and have a compact and dense texture. My best part of this bake is to enjoy the fruity and boozy fragrance of these cakes while wrapping them into little presents... They smell really good!

I didn't forget my boy when I made these boozy cakes. For him, I have adapted the recipe to make a kiddy non-boozy version. The non-boozy ones are just as good as the boozy ones, minus the boozy, of course. LOL!

moist boozy fruitcake Martha Stewart
My moist and boozy fruitcake
The fruits and the booze
Mixing the fruit and booze...
Making the cake
Baking the cake
Can't eat the cake now... We have to wait!
Making the non-boozy ones for my boy
A moist fruitcake with pudding-like texture
All wrapped up to give away!
Here's the recipe from Martha Stewart 
(with my modification and notes in blue)

Yield Makes two 9-inch loaf cakes and two 8-inch round cakes

1 pound pitted prunes (2 1/4 cups)
1 pound dark raisins (2 3/4 cups)

1 pound dried currants (3 1/2 cups)
(replaced with same amount of raisins)
1 pound dried cherries (3 1/3 cups)

(replaced with dried cranberries)
3 ounces candied citrus peel, orange and lemon (1/2 cup)
3 ounces candied ginger (1/2 cup) (I didn't add this)

1 (750 mL) bottle dark rum, plus more for brushing cakes
(replaced with port but used rum for brushing)
1 (750 mL) bottle ruby port or Manischewitz wine
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
4 ounces blanched almonds (2/3 cup)

(I used almond meal)
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

(I used Dutch processed)
2 1/2 cups packed dark-brown sugar

(I used dark muscovado sugar)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
10 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup molasses or cane sugar

(I used molasses)

Confectioners' sugar or royal icing, for serving 

Note: I have used only half the amount of this recipe to two 20 cm x 20 cm square cakes.

At least 2 weeks before you plan to bake the cakes, place prunes, raisins, currants, cherries, citrus peel, candied ginger, rum, and port in a large container with a lid. Stir fruit once a day.

Note: I did this only 1 week before. I've soaked all my dried fruits with 750ml of port and stored it in my fridge. The Australian port that I used, Yaldara Fine Old Tawny is a mild-range one with rich fruity flavours and a nice warming finish.

When ready to bake the cakes, preheat oven to
250°F (or 125°C fan forced). Butter and flour two 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans and two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment; butter parchment and set aside. 

Note: For thinner cakes, I've prepared two 20 cm square cake pans for half amount of this recipe.

In the bowl of a food processor or the jar of a heavy-duty blender, grind almonds to a coarse meal (I skipped this step because I used almond meal). Stir ground almonds into the fruit mixture until well combined. Working in batches, transfer almond-fruit mixture to the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender and pulse until a chunky paste forms. Transfer paste to a large bowl or a rimmed baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add vanilla, and beat in eggs, one at a time. Transfer to a very large bowl or stock pot.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Using a spatula, fold flour mixture into butter mixture. Add cocoa powder mixture and molasses and fold to combine; stir in fruit.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until cakes are firm on top and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 3 hrs. Remove from oven and immediately brush tops of cakes with rum. Let cakes cool completely. (I baked all my cakes for 3 and 1/2 hrs)

Invert cooled cakes to unmold and brush with additional rum. Wrap cakes in cheesecloth, a clean dish towel, or sturdy paper towels, and then in aluminum foil. Let stand at room temperature at least 3 days before serving, and up to 1 month. Serve cakes dusted with confectioners' sugar or frosted with royal icing.
Note: My cakes stand in the fridge for more than a week before serving.

My adapted kiddy non boozy fruitcake:

60g prune
125g rasins
60g dried cranberries
175ml orange juice
60g butter
75g flour
15g almond meal
10ml boiling water
3g Dutch cocoa powder
45g dark muscovado sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp molasses

I've baked the non boozy fruitcake using two 10 cm round cake pans. The dried fruits were soaked in orange juice overnight in fridge. The cakes were baked at 125°C fan forced for 3 1/2 hrs too. I've let the cake stand in the fridge for more than a week before serving.

Happy Baking
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  1. You are right, preparing fruit cakes cost a lot but it's worth it... and so true we have to wait, a month is even better!

  2. Wow! 3 hours of slow baking, not easy job! Good job Zoe! Your friends must be very happy to received this homemade fruitcake.

  3. Oh yeah. Fruit cakes involves hell lot of work and loads of time, but you do all this because you know the result will be outstanding. Love the cute packing. Lucky friends:)

  4. Really wonderful and new idea! I can almost imagine the taste! Nicely done!

  5. Hey Zoe,

    Great job with the fruit cake. 3 hours of slow baking, I would have been so impatient. But, it looks like it's worth it. Your fruit cake looks beautiful and delicious.


  6. This sounds like a labor of love! They look so pretty wrapped up into little packages:)

  7. oh wow, beautiful absolutely beautiful fruit cake! Very very moist, absolutely loved it! I intend to make the baked fruit cake version too! Looking at yours, it just makes me drool again on fruit cakes. And wrapping it up individual pieces that some effort too and with the nice I wish I can have one from you.

  8. Cake looks delicious and moist..very inviting.

  9. Very pretty looking parcel with lots of love :) I'm not really like fruits cake...too sweet for my liking. It really time consuming to make it.

  10. this is incredible! they look so gorgeous all wrapped up as presents!

  11. mmm they look great - bet you're glad you didn't through them away! Reminds me that my cake has been sat on top of the fridge since October - better get it down and get the marzipan on!

  12. I am so glad you didn't chunk them, they sure look wonderful now!

  13. This reminded me of the plum pudding recipe my great grandmother brought from Ireland and has been a tradition in my family, but is so time consuming! I simply love this type of fruitcakes, and it looks really amazing. I´m pinning this one!

  14. OMG – I just came from the grocery to buy ingredients to make this and then I read your blog…your pictures are great – im more inspired than ever to make them!

  15. WOW! this is worth keeping; we are great fruit cake lovers and with booze another bonus.

  16. Anyone who receives a wedge of your homemade boozy fruitcake is going to be in heaven. So much work but so delicious.

  17. Expensive and time-consuming for sure but then it's more steep to buy it :D And of course , nothing beats homemade ! It looks yummy and those small individual portion are a great idea :)

  18. Wow, you are very patient, 3 hours and I'll fall asleep! You did a great job, Zoe, your cake turns out well after all the hardwork! The gift receivers are very lucky indeed!

  19. Love fruitcake end with the boooze it must be fantastic.

  20. Such a beautiful cake Zoe and I really appreciate the non-boozy version! Would be perfect for my little one!

  21. Hi Zoe! This fruitcake looks delicious! And all wrapped up is so adorable. I bet everyone will love it :)

  22. It looks tasty, but I'll trust that they are since I'm not a huge fan of fruit cake.

  23. A non boozy one for me please!Great job, great pics and I bet it was worth it! Many kisses from Greece,dear Zoe!

  24. I too soaked some fruit for fruit cake may be bake it one end of this week.your cake looks delicious.

  25. These look amazing. What a great gift :) We are making Christmas cake today. Rum is my choice of booze :P

  26. luckily you didnt throw them away! Yeah, this looks a little different from the usual fruit cakes, it's like pudding like texture. with all the wine and rum, i'm sure this is one great christmas cake!! Cheers!

  27. I've never let my fruit cake sit - next time I am definitely doing that.

  28. This fruit cake looks slightly different from the normal one. Glad that your cake revived and saved your day.

    Merry Xmas & Happy New Year to you and family.

  29. So lovely, fruit cake is given away in a red paper and gold ribbon. Well done Zoe. Merry Christmas to you.

  30. Fruit cake does take a longer time to bake and they are always so rich and heavy but has a class of its own. I love the alcohol content in fruit cakes. Zoe, if you ever decide to throw any of your bakes, please please throw them my way. I'd love to catch it.. with my mouth wide open. kaakkkakaka..Merry Christmas, my dear!

  31. Hi Zoe, I love how you tasted it right away but didn't throw out your cake and let it sit. I will have to try making fruitcake next year! Deliciousness!
    Merry Christmas,

  32. Very interesting how in-edible they were straight from the oven! I don't think I'd be patient enough, so thanks for the tip :) they look like perfect little Christmas treats!

  33. Hi Zoe! We have nominated Bake for Happy Kids for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award -
    Congratulations! You really deserve it!

    Have a great day,

    Chloe & Sarah

  34. Wow Zoe, your fruitcake look so delicious, compact and moist. Truly a labor of love! I wouldnt hv the patience for a 3 hour bake hahaha. Good on ya. Merry Christmas!

  35. Zoe,
    Your fruitcake looks lovely.
    If you wanna throw, please throw some to my house..LOL

    Your fruitcake is loaded with dried fruits, wine and rum, i bet it is really full of flavours. Does it taste fudgy?? How i wish i can taste a piece..:p

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  36. What an absolutely gorgeous looking cake! I adore fruit cake! Merry Christmas!

  37. Wow! looks & sounds so decadent & tempting! I've never bake a real fruit cake before & this sounds easy enough compared with other recipes. Bookmarking this recipe, my boss loves boozy fruitcake! ;)

  38. I love how you wrapped these babies...I hope you and yours have an amazing Christmas!

  39. Hi Zoe, how nice of you to make this in the spirit of giving, so much of effort and patience to make this, i am felling the warmth already. Wish I was one at the receiving end too :)) Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas!

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  41. A good, boozy fruitcake can be wonderful. They do need some age though, at least IMO. Great recipe, very nice post. Thanks. And I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday.

  42. Zoe, these fruit cakes look nice and fudgy-like inside. Good thing you did not throw them away! The baking time is so lengthy too, need loads of patience. In the end, you did so well. Love the way to wrapped them individually.

  43. Hi Zoe, this fruitcake looks boozy-licious! ;) Love the way you wrap them up into little individual treats, so sweet of you! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family!

  44. Looks lovely, although I am sure my boys will say I baked a kuih instead of cake if my cake turned out with this! They do not like dense cakes, not even brownies!

  45. Dear Zoe,

    Your fruitcake looks homely and delicious! I am not very fond of the storebought fruitcakes. Maybe I should try baking my own fruitcake next time!