Fruitcakes 2015

For this year's fruitcakes I used Alton Brown's recipe for "Free Range Fruitcake". I've used it before and like that it shows you how to use dried fruits rather than day-glow candied ones. I double the recipe and buy whatever fruits call to me (or are affordable). This year I used raisins, cranberries, cherries, candied pineapple, candied ginger, and apricots.

I enlisted the Farnsworth brothers to help me chop stuff up. They turned it into a competition of course, but got the job done. We soaked the fruits and citrus peels in rum overnight and I pretty much followed the recipe after that. I used cinnamon, allspice, clove, and nutmeg, extra nuts (mostly walnuts and a few precious pecans), and baked the cakes in "texas sized" muffin pans. I winged it on the timing, when the toothpick comes out clean, it is done.

I always perform quality testing on a fresh baked fruitcake, just to make sure it is delicious. Then I lightly soak them in rum and store them in a container lined with wax paper. I've also used cognac and bourbon in the past, but I had leftover rum this year.

I love developing techniques for things - I've tried spray bottles and other booze-delivery methods, but this method works the best for me and wastes the least booze.

Place cake in a small dish. Poke holes in the top of the cake to allow the rum to seep into the center. Slowly drizzle rum over the top.

Rotate the cake in the bowl so that it soaks up the "run-off" and all sides are soaked in rum. Don't just submerge in a bowl of rum, the cake will get soggy and fall apart.

(yes, you can drink the "run-off", but rum full of flotsam isn't that appetizing. Best to get it into the cakes)

I let the cakes dry for about 15 minutes on a cookie rack before packing them up in wax paper. I repeat the soaking process probably twice before giving the cakes at Christmas.