Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Delicious Fruit Cake

Fruitcake.  It has a reputation for being the unwanted gift given at Christmas every year, the cake that is regifted due to nobody wanting to eat it.  The cake that has unnaturally colored fruits in it and is so dense it could be used as a doorstop.  Poor fruitcake, so unloved.  Alright, so I admit that I have never been given fruitcake and never eaten it...until this year.  Last week I had a dream that I was eating the most delicious fruitcake. 

It was filled with fruit soaked in bourbon and tasted of caramel and toasted nuts, and it was so good I ate the entire thing.  I woke up thinking maybe the boozy cocktail I had had the night before had gotten to me.  Afterall, isn't delicious fruitcake an oxymoron? 

I decided that I needed to put all previous fears of fruitcake aside and make one that was actually delicious.  Afterall, I knew it could be done, I had tasted it in my dream! 

I didn't want my cake to be dense as a doorstop, so I used an apple cake base that I have made before which I knew would be delicious with all the add ins.  I stirred into it cherries, crasins, and golden raisins soaked in bourbon, as well as a bit of the soaking liquid, and the batter itself was quite tasty.  Yes, I admit I licked the bowl, no risk of contamination with vegan cakes afterall! 

It smelled wonderful while baking, filling my home with the most heavenly aroma of cake that smelled faintly of vanilla and maple.  Once it was cool enough, I drizzled it with a bit more of the fruit soaking bourbon...afterall, fruitcake should be a little boozy should it not? 

I had originally planned on topping the cake with a frosting, but decided on toasted almonds and a caramel instead to preserve the beautiful character of the fruit filled cake.   

It was delicious, soft apple cake laced with bourbon, and studded with jewel like fruits, topped with a buttery gooey caramel and crunchy toasty nuts.  

It was the best fruitcake I have ever eaten! Well, also the only fruitcake I have ever eaten, but had everyone been exposed to this instead of the other stuff we would all be loving fruitcake.  I guess we cannot judge a cake by its name, or all cakes by one.  Just proves that if you have a good baker, you can have a delicious fruit cake!  Hope you all are having a lovely Christmas weekend :)!

Amy's Fruit Cake
Makes 2 6 inch cakes

1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup maple sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp grated organic orange zest
3/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp reserved fruit soaking bourbon
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp reserved fruit soaking bourbon

1/4 cup maple sugar
5 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp reserved fruit soaking bourbon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped

Place dried fruit in a jar and cover with just enough bourbon to submerge.  Let sit at least 4 hours or overnight.  Drain fruit, reserving liquid.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, orange zest, salt, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk apple sauce, oil, maple extract, vanilla extract, and cider  and 2 Tbsp fruit soaking liquid together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended. Whisk in cider vinegar and stir quickly (pale swirls will be in the batter, which is the baking soda reacting with the vinegar, which allows the cake to rise since there are no eggs) stir in dried fruit. Transfer cake batter to prepared pans and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cakes out onto platters, and peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely, and drizzle each with 1 Tbsp reserved fruit soaking bourbon.
To make caramel, combine maple sugar, butter, agave nectar, and sea salt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Heat until brought to a boil, cook one minute, then remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and bourbon.  Scatter nuts over each cake, then drizzle caramel over each. 


  1. What a lovely cake, Amy?! I love how photos look so good that I want one bite right now!:)
    I wish you and your family Happy and Healthy Holidays season!

  2. Oh, this is the best fruitcake EVER, Amy! And that lovely drizzle is making my mouth water!!! Mmmmmmmm....

  3. i love fruit cakes.. what are you talking about..:) the good fluffy and boozy ones of course.
    love the idea of caramel on top.. the salty sweet caramel with nuts.. yummm
    those slices are gorgeous!

  4. What dreams may come. I need to dream better dreams. Apple base, bourbon, caramel - now that's a fruitcake. (And I also would like to order your shortbread). Happy Boxing Day!

  5. Fruitcake when it's made with real fruit is actually really good! It's just when it's as hard as a rock and filled with that fake dried fruit that it tastes awful. Glad you found a winner. Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

  6. This does give one a new as well as delicious perspective on fruit cake. Definitely not Grannys fruitcake here. I think this could really convert people that say they do not like fruitcake. I love this version-saved and buzzed. Thanks so much Amy!

  7. Isn't it funny about the poor ol' fruit cake's reputation? You should hear what French hubby says about the British ones and I get all defensive! This rich one of yours is certainly one that can change everybody's mind, Amy. Boozy and studded with jewels and dribbled with caramel, too? Fabulous! Sounds like you are enjoying your holidays! Cheers to many of your fantastic cocktails and delicious baking in 2012.

  8. That cake looks delicious. I have just one question, can I substitute coconut oil with something else, like olive oil or refined oil?

  9. I will admit, I have never tried a fruitcake either...their bad rap has been enough to scare me away! Yours, it looks truly decadent and delicious! I love the toasted almonds and caramel on top too...what a perfect finish!

  10. Amy, this looks wonderful, just like all of your other masterful creations :-)

  11. I love fruitcake, but I know I am in the minority. Poor fruitcakes don't get any respect all. I'm sure your cake could change a lot of minds though, it is quite lovely!

  12. That cake looks incredible.
    I've never had fruitcake before, but I've always been interested in trying it. I think I might just gave to!

  13. All I have to say is YUM! ... and I have no idea why folks don't like fruit cake. I love it! :D