Like we say in St. Olaf, Christmas without fruitcake is like St. Sigmund's Day without the headless boy
November 25, 2011 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Help me with some fruit cake alchemy (please).

I am going to make fruit cake this weekend for Christmas (don't groan!). I love my mother's cake, but for my first solo fruit cake excursion I want to try something different.

I've found two recipes that are on my short list. I like parts of one and parts of another. I want to find a way to create an unholy alliance of the two recipes.

I like that recipe 1 has molasses in it.

However, I like that recipe 2 has ground almonds in it.

Basically, what I want is a dark fruit cake with ground almonds in it. But I am afraid to either add ground nuts to the first cake or molasses to the second. These both seem like "fundamental" ingredients that would necessitate taking out either sugar (in the first case) or flour (in the second). I'm just not sure what the proper ratios should be.

Can someone with a firmer grasp of cake chemistry tell me how I can concoct a new recipe that involves both molasses and ground almonds? (I don't care which ends up being the base recipe -- I just want the best of both worlds!)
posted by Mrs. Rattery to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a conversion between brown sugar and molasses. Fruitcake is usually pretty forgiving, so I'd just go for it.
posted by instamatic at 3:10 PM on November 25, 2011

Well, it doesn't seem quite so simple.

Okay, well, following this advice you link to:
molasses (Substitute 1 1/3 cup molasses plus 1 teaspoon baking soda for one cup of granulated sugar, then reduce another liquid in the recipe by 1/3 cup and reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. This substitution will impart a strong molasses flavor to the product. Replace no more than half of the sugar in the recipe with molasses.)

There's 1 cup total of sugar in recipe 2 (I'm combining the light and dark for simplicity), which means I should add about 2/3 cup of molasses plus 1/2 tsp baking soda, right? I'm just not sure how I can reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe. There's just orange juice and brandy. Frankly, I"m not willing to give up on flavour! Do I take an egg out?

Moreover, this substitution is for white sugar, not brown.

Am I really just overthinking this?
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 3:27 PM on November 25, 2011

Those are two somewhat different cakes. The first is like a fruity ginger cake; the second is a British-style Christmas cake. What kind of texture do you want at the end? Something like a Jamaican black cake?

Here's what Slater says to accompany a similar recipe (for a smaller size cake):
Dark sugars are what keep the crumb of the cake moist. Demerara, molasses and the muscovado sisters - dark and light - are the ones to use rather than caster. This year I have brought in more light muscovado than dark, which means the flavour is more butterscotch than black treacle.
I'd agree that these dense cakes are more forgiving that sponge cakes, as far as the "baking = chemistry" rule goes, but would you be comfortable sticking with sugar, but using the darkest muscovado you can find?
posted by holgate at 3:58 PM on November 25, 2011

Hmmm....well, I am used to what was called a "golden" fruit cake. I would say that I prefer the darker, denser variety of fruit cake. I fully intend to baste this brandy all through advent.

What I don't want is something that is just a sponge cake with fruit in it. I want a cake in which the fruit and cake become embroiled in a heady union of awesomeness.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 4:25 PM on November 25, 2011

Ok. I'm willing to share my family recipe (well, it came from a magazine in the 70s, apparently) for Chocolate Fruitcake. I promise you, it is fucking amazing. It's very heavy, rich, chocolately and rum-y. Note that the loaves are not cheap to make, though. And also note that you're supposed to store them in the fridge for a few weeks for the flavors to develop.

2 cups candied red and green cherries
1/2 cup mixed peel
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup blanched white almonds
3/4 cup light rum (I use just white rum)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz Baker's unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
3/4 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine fruit and almonds with rum. Store in container and let sit 2-3 days flipping once a day. Sift dry ingredients. In separate bowls, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in milk, vanilla and any rum not soaked into the fruit. Add melted chocolate. Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring well. Add fruit and nuts. Divide dough into 2 greased loaf pans and bake 45-50 minutes. (Oh no, my copy here doesn't say at what temperature. Maybe I can find out and comment later.) Cool and then brush generously with rum on all sides. Wrap in wax paper and then foil and then saran wrap. Store in fridge several weeks.

You're welcome :)
posted by kitcat at 7:02 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a recipe for a fruit cake with both molasses and ground almond.
posted by yoink at 7:57 PM on November 25, 2011

That's fantastic, yoink! Thanks!
And kitcat: that recipe sounds decadent. I may just be tempted.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:34 AM on November 26, 2011

The temperature for the chocolate fruitcake is 350.
posted by kitcat at 5:21 PM on November 26, 2011

« Older Can we move to the Bay Area? SHOULD we?   |   Un-bork my card Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.