Saturday, December 17, 2016

California Fruitcake

This recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking and I have been baking it every year at Christmas time for the past 15 years.  Yowza!  My husband affectionately refers to it as "ugly cake" because it bakes all bumpy.  Literally, the batter is just enough to hold the pieces of walnuts and dried fruit together.  This is not your traditional fruitcake.  It is more reminiscent of a granola bar on steroids.

Everywhere I take this fruitcake, from potlucks to gift giving, I always get rave reviews and recipe requests.  Yes, there is sugar in this recipe, but to me this is cleaner and healthier than most fruitcakes I have seen.  The recipe list is short and there is a lot of good in this cake.  It keeps well for weeks and we find improves in taste with time.  I like to make 4 at a time but the recipe below is for one delicious loaf.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
4 cups dried fruit (raisins, dates, apricots are my go to fruits but you can use others)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 300F.  Place a piece of parchment paper inside of a loaf pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in one bowl.
2. Add the walnuts and dried fruit.
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and add the vanilla.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the other bowl.  Mix together.  Key note: your hands are by far the best tool here!  Make sure you mix it all really good.  It will be messy but worth the effort - take your rings off before you commence this step.
5. Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
6. Let loaf pan cool on a rack before removing loaf from the pan.  

Freshly baked
I made 2 batches of 4 this year.  That is 8 fruitcakes!
For my annual cookie swap, I shared by fruitcake.
It is fun to cut into squares for serving.
I also served it this way for 2 potlucks at work.
I got a LOT of compliments!

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