Okay, I know that fruitcake is universally made fun of and not in vogue anymore and frankly, until recently, I didn’t like it very much. It does seem that it is hard as a brick and so full of candied fruit that it is not appealing, but the basic idea has been around so long that I thought maybe it was worth a second look.
A good friend of mine went to a local bakery to buy a couple of fruitcakes for his mother-in-law and was floored by the price-tag. Small loaves (apparently very small) were over $35.00 apiece. I promised to bake him some fruitcakes for his family and got busy looking for good recipes in my vast cookbook collection.
Amid the specialty cookbooks on cakes and those general old-fashioned cookbooks I found a lot of different fruit cake recipes: dark fruitcake, light fruitcake, large cakes baked in bundt pans and small miniature fruitcakes; even fruit cupcakes. One cookbook by Darina Allen, “Simply Delicious Christmas” has an Irish fruitcake that seems to bring together the best of all of them. I made these fruit cakes in 4 small loaf pans, 5″ x 2-1/2″ and am delighted with them. I hope my friend will feel the same!
Don’t be afraid to try this recipe–it’s easy and it’s fun!
Irish Fruit Cakes
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 large apple, grated
1/2 cup rum
2 cups gold raisins
1 cup currants
1 1/2 cups candied cherries
1/2 cup candied pineapple
2 cups pecan halves
Prepare loaf pans by spraying with vegetable spray.
Put candied cherries and pineapple in food processor. Process into small pieces. Put in bowl, add raisins and currants; pour rum over.
Cream butter and add sugar. Cream. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in flour and allspice. Then fold in rum-fruit mixture, nuts and grated apple. When you put in the pans, smooth tops. Bake in loaf pans at 275 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test for done when toothpick in center of cake comes out clean.
Mix 1 Tbsp. corn syrup with 1/2 cup rum; bring to a boil. Brush over cooled cakes. Set in freezer or frig. Do it again in a few days. Best when kept for at least 2 weeks.
I put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to help keep the cakes moist.