I know that some people actually like traditional fruitcake, but I don’t — not with its candied neon green and red cherries, candied citron and heavy, dry texture. On the other hand, fruitcake made with dried fruit is very good!
The following recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake.
How to make Dried-Fruit Fruitcake:
4 cups assorted dried fruits, chopped if necessary
1 cup Apple Brandy
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup butter
1 cup hard apple cider
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
I used 8 different kinds of dried fruit: 1/2 cup each apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, currants, mango, and pineapple. Mix together in large mixing bowl and pour apple brandy over it. Stir well. Leave at least overnight.
Heat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour three 4-1/2” x 8-5/8” foil loaf pans.
Place fruit/brandy mixture in non-reactive pan. Add sugar, butter, cider and cinnamon. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for about an hour.
Put fruit mixture in large mixing bowl. Combine dry ingredients and sprinkle over fruit. Mix together with a large wooden spoon. Stir in eggs one at a time until completely combined. Stir in nuts.
Spoon into pans and bake for 45-50 minutes – until cake tester comes out clean.
Let cakes sit for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pans and sit on rack to cool. Since I was planning on giving two of these away, I washed two of the foil pans to put the cakes back into.
Once cool, mix glaze by combining powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Add enough water to make a thin icing. Glaze cakes and sprinkle with holiday sugar.
Use your holiday cookie cutters as patterns for decorating your cakes!
Enjoy! You might want to explain to the recipient that this is not your grandmother’s fruitcake!
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Cindy blogs at Spiritway Press.
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This sounds yummy! I have a couple questions: Do you refrigerate the fruit mixture while you’re letting it sit overnight? I know this is a dumb question, but what is a non-reactive pan?
Also, have you used other liquor besides the apple brandy? (I have some peach schnapps that I’m wondering if it’d taste good with).
On December 14, 2010 at 2:21 am
I think this looks wonderful. I love any fruitcake (I know it’s weird…) and am always looking for variations.
I forced my family to consume (after igniting)an official Plum Pudding last year which was very similar to a fruit cake (not nearly as good). Also I make a pineapple/macadamia nut fruitcake that is a good one….
Don’t let those fruitcake traditions die out!!!
On December 14, 2010 at 9:24 am
ML Cauley says:
This is wonderful! I’m not crazy about the “traditional fruitcakes” either. Blech! But using real fruit is perfect! However, I don’t usually cook with alcoholic stuff, so is there an alternative to that?
On December 14, 2010 at 10:14 am
I wonder if I could use 1 cup of peach juice that I made from my steamer instead of apple brandy.
On December 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm
Glad to see posts like this. This is much more a traditional fruit cake than the neon fruit/nut kind. The key is to remember that the fruitcake came over from England, and the ones that we eat there are like this – well, much less selection of fruit, but similar. Our tradition would have died out if we tried to sell or offer the Americanized version. (Much like it has here, really!).
No offense – America does many things well – but not fruitcake;)
On December 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm
Thank you for your comments and quesions!
ScreamingSardine–I actually mixed my fruit/brandy together and then got too busy to do anything more for about 5 days. I left it in a ceramic bowl covered in plastic wrap at room temperature, stirring once or twice a day. Having said that, I’d probably refrigerate it next time just to be on the safe side. I don’t believe there are no stupid questions (because I’ve heard quite a few!), but this isn’t a stupid question! A non-reactive pan is one made of stainless steel or enamelware. I would also suspect that anodized aluminum and Teflon would be as well, as long as the coating isn’t scratched or chipped. The metal in copper, aluminum and iron pans will react with certain substances, leaving a metallic taste and/or discoloration. I substituted apple brandy for rum in the original recipe, so I would think that peach schnapps would work well. How about dried peaches and apricots and peach schnapps?
On December 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm
IowaCowgirl–Thank you! Successful experiments lead to new traditions. 😉
ML Cauley–I understand. The original recipe called for soaking the fruit in rum, but the cake used apple juice instead of apple cider. I would try using apple juice or orange juice for both the soaking and cake liquids. My next one will use orange juice in the cake, I think. Don’t leave the fruit/juice mixture sitting out overnight, though. I would put it into the refrigerator. I was able to get away with not refrigerating mine because it was soaking in 40% alcohol.
JoJo–I would certainly try it. I would think it would work nicely. If you’re using a fruit juice and not something with alot of alcohol (apple brandy is 80 proof or 40% alcohol), though, I’d definitely put the fruit/liquid in the refrigerator and not leave it out overnight.
Jane–Definitely not fruitcake! 😉
On December 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Long Live Fruitcake!!!! I love it & made mine last month on Veteran’s Day…it’s all wrapped up in brandy-soaked cloth, just finished off the first little loaf today. I just use a regular fruitcake recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook complete with the garrish colored fruit peel…I did wash my peel though, as I don’t want the high fructose corn syrup that is so common in everything.
This sounds like a wonderful recipe..I’m saving it & will try to make it at some point…maybe after Christmas, afterall fruitcake is welcome anytime!!! Thanks
On December 14, 2010 at 9:15 pm
Thanks for answering my questions, Cindy. I think I’ll try this very soon. Looks soooo yummy!
On December 14, 2010 at 11:07 pm