This is the fruitcake that will redeem the name of fruitcake. It is a beautiful mess of dried fruit and nuts held together by some flour and eggs. The small amount of batter forms a delicious sugary coating across the surface of the cake that is simply addictive. This fruitcake is so good. Now those aren't words you hear every day, are they? Read on, my friends, read on.
The recipe comes from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich. I love this book. I have never made anything from it that wasn't fantastic. If you don't have it, it isn't too late to put it on your Christmas wish list! This was one of the first recipes that really jumped out at me when I got the book, though I didn't have a chance to make it until recently. A shame, because I have seriously been missing out!
If you've been wanting a wonderful, flavorful, complex, dynamic, creative, delicious fruitcake recipe, look no further. Here it is.
This recipe is very versatile, in that you can use any combination of dried fruit, plus it is perfect for so many occasions. Certainly great for the holidays, but equally as wonderful as a breakfast treat. Especially if baked in bar form, which I'm planning on trying sometime soon.
It does look a little lop-sided, I know, but don't hold that against it! I didn't do the greatest job of leveling out the batter, but it is so craggy it is rather difficult to do...
I used a combination of dates, apricots, figs and cherries. Next time, the only change I would make fruit-wise would be to use a slightly higher proportion of cherries, because they added a delightful tang to the cake. Everything else was great - the crunch of the fig seeds, the chewy gooeyness of the dates, the soft sweetness of the apricots. Really, this is so good.
The recipe calls for 3/4 cup sugar, which isn't a whole lot under other recipe circumstances, but this has so much dried fruit in it, which is naturally so sweet, I think the sugar could be reduced considerably. Don't cut it out entirely, though, or you won't get that yummy coating.
I used part whole wheat, simply because I ran out of unbleached, but there is so little flour in this, I think you could use just about any kind. I think buckwheat would be fantastic, or kamut, or all whole wheat. I think this cake could very easily be made gluten-free as well.
In addition to being unbelievably, incredibly delicious, this recipe is also ridiculously easy. I made it for brunch last weekend, and threw it together in a matter of minutes after our guests had arrived. Easy, delicious, what more could you ask for? And a fruitcake at that!
Dried Fruit and Nut Cake
adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup palm sugar (though next time I will use more like 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
1 cup dried fruit (I used un-sulphured apricots, cherries and figs) chopped into medium-sized pieces.
2 cups medjool dates, quartered
3 cups walnut halves
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 300. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with parchment. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and palm sugar in large bowl. Add dried fruit and nuts and toss with your hands. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla extract. Pour into large bowl, toss until all of the fruit and nuts appear well-coated. It will not look like there is enough batter to form a cake, but trust me, there is. Pour into prepared loaf pan, and smooth as well as you can. Bake for about 1 hour 15 - 1 hour 20 minutes. If it looks like it is browning too quickly, place a foil tent over it. After removing from oven, let the cake sit in the load pan for about 5 minutes, then, using the edges of the parchment, lift the loaf out and cool on rack for 45 minutes before cutting into it.