Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

People usually cringe when I tell them I love fruitcake and yes , I have heard all the jokes.

This one tastes so good that I actually receive requests every December from family & friends for years. This is not the white flour, artificially colored dry,flavorless hard-as-rock cake that you could use a doorstop. Spelt flour replaces the whole pastry flour that I used 25 years ago ..which was a variation of the Joy of Cooking dark fruitcake recipe . (You could also try a completely gluten-free mix from Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills ) with added organic , fruits & nuts that are free of sulfur & artificial colors and preservatives.

The results are rich & satisfying, especially when served with a rum sauce or a freshly whipped real cream topping & fresh mint leaves. Start now ( for the best flavor ,it should cure properly in 2-4 weeks) so you have a homemade treat to serve your holiday guests or for you to enjoy yourself.

TROPICAL HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE

Preheat over to 300 degrees.

All ingredients should be at room temperature and organic whenever possible

SUPPLIES: 1 large 10 inch commercial loaf pan or several small loaf pans, greased with unsalted butter or Spectrum Spray and lined with wax or parchment paper .

Kitchen Aid or other mixer, Large bowl for mixing ,Spatula,Toothpick/bamboo skewer for larger loaves ,parchment/wax paper / bag ,Cake cooling rack

SIFT TOGETHER : 2 cups of Spelt flour ,1 teaspoon baking powder, aluminum free,¼ teaspoon sea salt ,1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground,1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground½ teaspoon ginger, freshly ground , ½ teaspoon cloves, ground

LARGE MIXING BOWL : Beat until creamy ½ pound butter (2 sticks), unsalted

ADD: 1 1/2 cups of dark raw cane sugar

BEAT IN : 6 eggs, large

FOLD IN : 3/4 cup Blackstrap molasses

JUICE: 1 orange or tangerine & 1 lemon with the zest from the rind & pour into mixture ( option: use 1/3 cup of pineapple juice & a 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract )

ADD the flour( sifted) and gently  work it into the wet batter.Do not over mix as spelt has a lower gluten content than traditional wheat flour.

POUR in ½ cup brandy or dark rum

USE KITCHEN MIXER on low to mix.

GENTLY FOLD IN : 2 cups nuts, chopped (pecans or walnuts) ,1 cup dates -chopped ,1 & 1/2 cup figs, Turkish work best -chopped,1 cup raisins or blueberries *dried, ,1 cup cranberries*,dried, 1 cup pineapple*, chopped-dried ,1 3/4 cups tropical fruits*, dried & unsulphured –mangoes, bananas, apricots, ginger chunks (candied)

* for extra flavor -pre-soak the dried fruits in a little brandy or dark rum 24 hours before adding to the cake batter

POUR the batter into the loaf pans and spread evenly. You can add whole pecans or walnuts on top to decorate .

BAKE for 2 ½ hours–with a foil tent to prevent burning until the toothpick or wooden skewer comes out clean. Please adjust the cooking time if you are using the smaller loaf pans .

COOL loaves for 1 hour on the cake rack . Peel off the wax paper and wrap in cheesecloth .

For best flavor, the fruitcakes need to cure for 30 days in a dark place at room temperature with weekly applications of rum( about 1/4 cup) or brandy .Use a pastry brush to apply or just carefully drizzle the liquid all over the cake. This keeps the cake moist & flavorful .

WRAP the loaves (on a plate or sturdy piece of cardboard) in wax paper or cheesecloth for the outer wrap and store in a parchment/paper bag)* for best preservation. Do not store in foil because the fruits may cause metal leakage into the cake.

* this allows the cake breathe and prevents molding

SERVE with: Whipped cream & fresh mint or homemade rum sauce with a cup of your favorite herbal tea .

REMEMBER : Be thankful during this special season.

A smile goes a long way and remember others less fortunate than yourself. Stay Blessed.

In Continued Health

Sally Byrd

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