It’s a shame that fruitcake as a species gets such a bad rap. With its two key ingredients – rum and butter – it ought to be a hit. This recipe includes dried fruit, instead of the glowing, candied stuff we’ve all learned to associate with fruitcake, and is less dense and more cake-like than many fruitcake recipes. It has become a favorite of my friends and family around the holidays (even the skeptical ones), and is delicious by itself, or covered with a layer of almond paste. Fruitcake is also traditional for wedding cake in England, and makes a very rich, sophisticated dessert for luncheons or teas.
1/8 cup chopped dried cherries
1/8 cup chopped dried mango
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup currants
2 tablespoons chopped candied citron
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup light rum
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons milk
8 tablespoons butter
1 Soak dried fruit in 1/4 cup rum for at least 24 hours. Cover tightly, and store at room temperature.
2 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter and line with parchment paper a 6 inch round pan.
3 Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
4 Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour in three batches, alternating with the milk and molasses. Stir in the fruit/ rum mixture and nuts.
5 Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons rum.
6 Place a piece of parchment paper, large enough to wrap entire cake, on a flat surface. Moisten a piece of cheesecloth, large enough to wrap the cake, with 1 tablespoon rum. Place the cheesecloth on top of the parchment paper, and unmold the cake on top of it. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the remaining rum. Wrap the cake, pressing the cheesecloth closely to the surface of the cake. Place the cake in an airtight tin, and let age for at least 10 weeks. If storing longer, douse with additional rum for every 10 weeks of storage.