I’m so happy to be baking through Rose Levy Beranbaum’s newest cookbook, The Baking Bible. I love reconnecting with old friends from our last bake along and getting to know the new bloggers who have joined Rose’s Alpha Bakers. I missed the inagural post, Kouign Amann, but you can bet this will be the recipe I’m doing when we have a catch up week. You can check out Marie’s weekly round up on Kouign Amann here. In our second week, we’re on to a dried fruit cake.
If you’re American, you can forget everything you know about “fruitcake.” If you’re not American, you might not understand the many jokes we have about fruitcakes. The brick-like Christmas gift that is sure to be regifted. This full of flavor cake bears no similarity to something you might see at the dollar store in December
The cake batter, which is flavored with a wonderfully dark Muscavdo sugar, is just enough to hold together the apples, dried fruits and nuts. Gone are the green maraschino cherries, the glaceed fruit. This cake is chocked full of real fruit (fresh and dried) and toasted nuts.
I like the fact that the recipe leaves the combination of dried fruits up to the baker. My choices were limited, but I went with dates, apricots, and cranberries — an unusual soudning combination, but delicious nevertheless! Pecans are scarce here in Poland, so I had to use walnuts. I also substituted brandy for the rum becuase I’m trying to empty the liquer cabinet before we move rather than fill it up. The flavor was still wonderful!
As Rose’s cakes go, this one was quick and easy:
- toast the nuts
- soak the dried fruit
- prepare the apples
- stir together the batter
- douse with rum (optional)
I baked this cake in a springform pan wrapped with insulating strips for the longer of the recommended times. A cake tester came out clean, but as it cooled, I had a three inch circle in the middle that sunk in about 1/2 an inch. I found out why when I turned the cake over to brush it with brandy, the center was not fully cooked. I popped it back in the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes. Even though it is much darker in my final sequense photo, it didn’t feel or taste “over baked.”
The friends we shared the cake with raved about it. I’ll be making another one for our family at Christmas. Ed suggested adding a Polish favorite, Ajerkoniak, to serve with the fruit cake, and I think that’s a great idea!
As one of Rose’s Alpha Bakers, I don’t share the recipe as I do in most of my blog post, but you can find The Baking Bible in bookstores or on Amazon.