Oh how I adore fruit cake; the rich flavors and the years of history and tradition surrounding this tasty treat! There are some interesting facts about the history of fruit cakes. My favorite is the 'Butter Letter', written by Pope Innocent VIII.
A few years ago while working for a dear friend and owner of Andreas Gourmet Market on Sanibel Island, Florida where I had what I now call the, AAFCE... An Amazing Fruit Cake Experience! Andrea was born in Sardinia and a lover of all things delicious and decadent! He was such a pleasure to work with as he shared his love for life and food with abandon.
One early morning, two days before Christmas Andrea stopped by to share some holiday cheer with the employees…he popped open a bottle of Dom Perignon and instructed me to thinly slice a 55 year old fruitcake, handcrafted by monks from Italy. At $100 dollars for 5 ounces, you can imagine I was hungry with anticipation. We sipped our champagne together and ate the spicy, sweat cake. The combination of the aged fruit with the bubbly was extraordinary. I could never have imagined how delicious a 55 year old piece of cake would taste not to mention, the Dom!! It was one of the most memorable moments in my life and a mouthful of Christmas spirit!
I'll note any changes I made due to dry climate and altitude throughout the recipe
2 sticks salted butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 ½ cups flour, plus 1 tsp
1 TBS vanilla extract
½ pound pecan halves
1 lb red candied cherries
½ lb green candied cherries omitted
½ lb candied pineapple tidbits
½ lb golden raisins
½ cup cognac or brandy (optional) 1-½ cups Cointreau
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a spring-form cake pan with shortening. Line it with parchment or waxed paper and grease it again.
- Cover the raisins with water in a small saucepan and bring them to a boil. Remove from heat and allow them to cool. Drain the raisins and spread them over paper towels to dry thoroughly. Place the raisins in a bowl and sprinkle them with a teaspoon of flour. Toss to coat them with the flour.
- Cream the butter and sugar with a stand mixer. Blend in the eggs, flour, and vanilla. Select a few pieces of each fruit and a few pecans and reserve them. Add the remaining candied fruit and pecans to the batter and stir them in by hand.
- Take the reserved fruit and pecan pieces and arrange them evenly in the bottom of the baking pan. Pour the cake batter over the fruit and pecans.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for one hour at 350°. After one hour, reduce the heat to 300° and remove the foil. Continue baking for two more hours. (cooked mine for 1 hour covered, 30 minutes uncovered )
Remove the fruit cake from the pan immediately after taking the cake out of the oven and remove the paper, too. Allow the fruit cake to cool.